Oppelt unethical - govt

2013-05-19 21:16
Minister of Communications Dina Pule. (Picture: GCIS)

Minister of Communications Dina Pule. (Picture: GCIS)

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Johannesburg - The government communications department condemned on Sunday what it described as "unethical conduct" by Sunday Times editor Phylicia Oppelt.

"This latest revelation raises serious questions about the Sunday Times’ independence and its adherence to the press code," said departmental spokesperson Wisani Ngobeni.

He was referring to a report in the City Press which alleges that Oppelt gave the Democratic Alliance documentation to be handed to parliament's ethics committee who are conducting an inquiry into controversial Communications Minister Dina Pule.

"The Sunday Times is no longer just the messenger. It has become part of the story."

Journalists in the country must not "become lapdogs for political masters", said Ngobeni.

In the City Press article, Oppelt is quoted as saying that her newspaper was concerned that the committee "might reach a finding based on partial or incomplete evidence".

She told the City Press that she felt obliged to co-operate in the investigation.

"Ms Pule's actions are a matter of great public interest and that is where the focus should remain," Oppelt is quoted as saying.

Oppelt was not immediately available on Sunday afternoon for further comment to Sapa.

In April, Pule held a media conference in which she alleged that the Sunday Times was staging a smear and blackmail campaign against her.

She claimed business people linked to the newspaper had a vested interest in trying to secure a multi-billion rand set-top-box tender and were willing to do anything to get it.

Set-top-boxes are required for the move from analogue to digital TV broadcasting.

At the time, Pule detailed several stories written about her which, she claimed, sought to project her as a corrupt minister who could be bribed with a pair of shoes.

She also allegedly gave tenders to a boyfriend, meddled in tender processes, and interfered in the appointment of officials to the boards of state-owned enterprises.

Read more on:    dina pule  |  phylicia oppelt  |  tenders  |  media  |  corruption

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