Zuma complains about media reporting

2011-10-19 23:39

Cape Town - While wishing all journalists a happy National Press Freedom Day, President Jacob Zuma has complained of the media coverage of him as being trapped in two story lines - either he is indecisive or he is vindictive.

A statement issued by Presidential spokesperson Mac Maharaj on Wednesday issued a call for fairness, objectivity and open-mindedness in the coverage of government and especially of Zuma.

"When the President considers all aspects of matters placed before him to take an informed decision, the media accuses him of being indecisive. When he acts, he is accused of taking decisions vindictively, informed by the ANC elective conference that is scheduled to take place in Mangaung, Bloemfontein next year.

This stereotyping and pigeon-holing does not constitute fairness and objectivity that is expected of their media and misinforms the public," the statement said.

It went on to say that Zuma takes decisions independently, informed by objective facts that are placed before him.

"The pigeon-holing of the president that has become prevalent misleads the public and also kills critical thinking in the media and public space.

The media's responsibility is to inform the public first and foremost on what the decision is all about and all aspects of it. They are then free to comment on it, but must not give an impression that their opinions are facts," the statement said.

It went on to say that opinions needed to be marked clearly so that the public can make their own judgements based on the information provided.

Statement quite extraordinary

"On this national Press Freedom Day, we humbly urge the media and analysts to exercise their minds openly and widely, and analyse each action or decision on its own merits, and avoid stereotyping. In this way the South African public will be better informed about the actions, decisions and policies of government," the statement said.

Political analyst Daniel Silke said the issuing of such a statement was quite extraordinary and was indicative of the sensitivities surrounding Zuma's office.

"It also highlights the sensitivities in the run up to the African National Congress' 2014 elective conference. Calling attention to the two story lines is a sign that they clearly exist," Silke said.

He said the statement was in fact admitting that the nature of the press coverage was potentially harming relations between Zuma and his own party ahead of the conference.

October 17 is remembered as "Black Wednesday" by the South African press when the Apartheid government in 1977 banned two newspapers and detained a number of activists and journalists using draconian censorship and detention laws.

  • Sedick - 2011-10-19 23:49

    The press should shame themselves - they really are NASTY towards our President. Zuma is ALWAYS applying his indecisive vindictive mind...Or is it his vindictive indecisive mind. Anyway, he takes so long to apply his mind, that he forgets the issues to apply his mind on.....

      Donovan - 2011-10-20 01:16

      'Applying his mind'. I love how that implies that he is some sort of learned scholar, when indeed he is instead a vindictive, indecisive, venal, self-centred, avaricious, odious, repulsive, sexist, chauvinistic, devious, dishonest, immoral and yes, vile, buffoon. Count yourself lucky most of the press stick to 'indecisive' and 'vindictive'. A man of your scant character could suffer far worse 'indignity'.

      Renny - 2011-10-20 06:27

      Sorry Mr.Zuma but you have not contributed in making South Africa a better place to be at, actually what have you managed to achieve at all, besides finding another bride for yourself of course.

      Peek - 2011-10-20 06:43

      Yes, but if you can't read and write like Zuma, it takes a while to work on a 1 page document.

      Walter - 2011-10-20 07:10

      Is this the start, or end, to justify the scandalous Information Bill?????

      hvklein - 2011-10-20 07:14

      Hi Sedick. The reason he takes so long to apply his mind is that most of the time he doesn't know where it is! In his expert opinion he is either vindictive or indecisive - not both. Just look at what he has done since taking office - NOTHING! AND THE PRESS DARE TO CRITIZISE THAT! SHAME ON THEM!

      roboman1 - 2011-10-20 08:31

      The president has a point actually, the press in SA is manipulated too much by spin doctors and business and political people with too much self-interest. The press is in fact not impartial and fair and independent, they are highly malleable in the hands of privateers. I do not believe in any form of government control, but in fairness, the press also need to review their modus operandi. They accept, publish and give credence to a lot of un-researched articles placed by spin doctors and PR firms. I know this, because I have done this and personally benefitted from subjective placement of articles in almost all of the papers, including the Sunday Times, Business Day, Beeld, The citizen, The Sowetan. All written and placed by my own team of Spin Doctors and PR people. So in this instance Zuma has a point.

      Marc - 2011-10-20 08:42

      Well, what do we expect from a heardboy with standard 3! Just enough brains to confuse himself.

      Kala - 2011-10-20 08:49

      If the press had to "excecise their minds" at Zuma pace, we would only get today's news next month.

  • celeste.rsa - 2011-10-20 00:05

    If Zuma exercised his mind openly and widely and analysed each action or decision on its own merits maybe this country wouldn't be in the bloody mess it is!

      Jason - 2011-10-20 05:52

      what mind?

      Kala - 2011-10-20 08:41

      I say he should give up excercising his mind and start excerising his body. He is clearly fighting a losing battle on the former.

  • William - 2011-10-20 00:22

    This would not if he stopped "Pussy-footing" around and started taking the Bull by the horns. He takes his time to check first that he is not going to be stepping on the toes of anyone that moved him into the Presidency.

  • Alfred - 2011-10-20 00:54

    So which is it Zoomah? Are they portraying you as vindictive or indecisive? Or can't you decide? Either way, I guess you'll be out for revenge with your ridiculous media gag order which some might see as rather vindictive. Well done JZ, once again you've proven the media right and once again you've shown that the ANC simply cannot grasp the concept of irony. You're a walking cartoon character and you will be pointed at and laughed at accordingly. Here's another facepalm salute to the spineless clown in charge.

  • marco.tomaso - 2011-10-20 02:29

    Free Press holds Governments officials,which includes you sir Jacob Zuma accountable.Without it would violate South Africans right to access information we need to know and will give the government,any government that is,the right to classify certain information as not in the public's general interest. Is this yet another successful attack on democracy by Zuma and the ANC that we are about to witness?The South African Constitution allows for the promoting freedom of press and other media.You should know that Mr Zuma didn't you take an oath when you got sworn into office that you would uphold and respect the country's constitution?Why are folks not surprise by the ANC's actions?An independent and investigative press is the lifeblood of any Democracy. Prof Jane Duncan the Highway Africa Chair of Media and Information Society,School of Journalism and Media Studies at Rhodes University says this:"The ANC argues that the press are incapable of regulating themselves,and excessive commercialisation has led to the media pursuing profit at the expense of basic human rights".Duncan goes further by saying that the ANC claims that government has led to a more diverse media landscape,and that the print media remain especially resistant to transformation because they are not state-regulated. Civil society organisations(CSOs),The South African chapter of the Media Institute of Southern Africa(MISA-SA),the Southern African National Editors Forum (SANEF)

      Michael - 2011-11-18 09:22

      Sir? I beg your pardom! Cur maybe!

  • marco.tomaso - 2011-10-20 02:29

    and the Freedom of Expression Institute (FXI),finds Zuma's actions as offensive to the constitutional guarantees of freedom of expression and freedom of the press.It does not provide for a public interest defence rather it promotes secrecy and self-censorship.Reporting on things such as "national interest","security","state security" and "national security" can be abuse by Government Officials who can then inhibit access to public interest issues on the grounds that such information needs to be protected. If everything goes according to as the ANC wishes,then we South Africans are trailing in the direction of numerous other African Governments which have failed to maintain Democratic Societies.It will be goodbye to the democratic notions of accountability and transparency and a welcome to an ill-informed population which might already be there.

  • George - 2011-10-20 02:55

    He is not indecisive, he is plain common lazy.

  • zaatheist - 2011-10-20 04:31

    If Zuma took the time to apply his mind and read these comments he may just realise that it is not only the media that perceives him as indecisive, vindictive, lazy and corrupt.

  • mokwenatau - 2011-10-20 04:32

    Zuma's spin doctors can not cope.

  • Du - 2011-10-20 04:53

    Gee die man 'n fopspeen

  • raymond.kok3 - 2011-10-20 05:46

    for once in your life then prove the media and SA wrong and act against to rot and decline than we the public will form our own opinion of you hows that

  • Trevor - 2011-10-20 06:07

    CONGRATS TO ALL THE MEDIA PEOPLE INVOLVED!!!Keep up the good work, keep bringing to light ALL of the Governments corruption and mis-management...if that means it makes Zuma aggitated THEN KEEP IT UP else we'll end up like the rest of by a Zimbabwe

  • Faan - 2011-10-20 06:27

    Jason - how on earth can you mention Mandela's name in the same line as that of Zuma and Malema - twit !!!

  • dhuysamen1 - 2011-10-20 06:42

    Shame, maybe the media should just portray him for the bumbling fool caught up in his tribal ancestry and totally out of touch with the European concept of Democracy. Maybe if he and his cronies stopped ruling this country like a kraal we would start developing respect for them. No wonder the intelligent whites are retreating into laagers like their ancestors who first met the black man NORTH of the Fish River, remember

  • alan.cargen - 2011-10-20 06:46

    "indecisive or vindictive"... but he cant make up his mind which one it is...

      colin.dovey - 2011-10-20 08:28

      Actually, the real truth is, Zuma's vocabulary is very restricted - the rumour is that much of his speeches are written phonetically (as one would for a 5 year old ) So the logical conclusion is that they are correct on both counts....he IS, enigmatically, both indecisive (not definitely settling something) and vindictive (disposed to seek revenge or intended for revenge) - his actions are very clearly that of a NOT SO CLEVER politician who is getting his ducks in a row before the Polokwane Indaba next year. He is making sure that he is not "Mbeki'd" in the way his predecessor was...but, being the crude, unsophisticated, profligate (a recklessly extravagant individual) that he is, he now has to respond through his spokesperson....Mac "The Knife" a petulant, prissy way. Grow up Zuma....the voting public is slowly starting to see you for what you really are......self-seeking.

  • TheRock - 2011-10-20 07:14

    Well then perhaps Zuma should enlighten us and give us an example of one of the great decisions he's made. The guy has been a total embarrasment as president and now he'd like the media to tell the public that he's making sound decisions.

      Michael - 2011-11-18 09:24

      He has made many a great decision - one: like the backhands for the arms deal, etc, etc . . . ad nauseum!

  • Kevin - 2011-10-20 07:19

    Applying his mind with Fat boy's permission yeah. I would say indecisive,slow and a scared are what comes to mind. Any other president worth anything would have sorted an idiot like fat boy out in a week ,not a year.

  • Roberta - 2011-10-20 07:33

    Now if Zuma did some self-examination, he might correct his faults. The Press doesn't make up hese stories, he feeds them amd they report. That's what they are there for, and that's what I and many others want to know.

      Levett - 2011-10-20 09:01

      Well said for a stripper :-)

  • Dave - 2011-10-20 07:48

    Yes the press should not write articals regarding the goverment, that sould be left to the SA wildlife mag's.

  • anthony.swart - 2011-10-20 07:51

    To be honest I don't know how they could accuse Zuma of anything because you need to have done something and since he's taken office pretty little has been done to improve anything or make sweeping changes as promised. Zuma will forever be remembered as the black George Bush.

  • Sharmay - 2011-10-20 07:53

    Dont be cross because they are honest. Your decision making is slower than turtles stampeding through peanut butter. Besides, the only time you act quickly is when something threatens you. Stop trying to impress other countries and start impressing SA.

  • Vince.York - 2011-10-20 08:22

    The problem arises from the SOURCE, Zuma, and not the messengers! Worst choice for this position the general people could have ever pursued, no matter how charming and affable and grass roots he has proven himself to be. And that comes from too many well documented statements and leaders and even his own spin doctors as well as others worldwide including all of Africa. SA is now fully in free fall - and the tough economic times are exacerbating everything into 'desperado days'.

  • Nic - 2011-10-20 08:42

    Releasing a report from 2006 is not indecisive? do we have to wait 5 years for action on the Cele/ Nkabinde/ Sisheka reports? seems to me he needs to spend more time at home and do the job he is paid to do.

      Michael - 2011-11-18 09:27

      Do the job he is paid to do . . . what? - screw his wives and concubines??

  • richard.barnard2 - 2011-10-20 08:44

    Zuma is more paranoid than i thought. Now that he is reaching the end of his term, and what a useless term it was, he wants to get 'touchy'. Pity he was not fully implicated in the weapons scandel as i would have loved to see his reaction to the media then. Go take a shower old man!

  • Lauden Kirk - 2011-10-20 08:50

    It's being a hard time my friend. Remember when you quoted you and the ANC shall be in power until the return of Christ. Making deals with the devil will certainly get what you want but at the end we all dig our own hole of lies and failure.

  • Lauden Kirk - 2011-10-20 08:53

    I smell communism and desperation.

  • Levett - 2011-10-20 08:55

    The ANC misleads the public, not the media. Stop complaining and do your job like other presidents are doing.

  • Koos - 2011-10-20 09:59

    Poor Mac - I am sure he knows right from wrong but have to do his job. Mr Zuma - your actions and statements and lack of statesmanship is the reason for the comments in the press. Please act on Cele and the other nut who spent all the SA poor's money visiting his drug smuggling girlfriend in jail - and stop the wasteful spending of money on houses. Get your mate who is out on "medical parole" back in jail and admit corruption without trying to go to court. Or is it a culture??

  • Koos - 2011-10-20 10:02

    Poor Mac - I am sure he knows right from wrong but have to do his job. Mr Zuma - your actions and statements and lack of statesmanship is the reason for the comments in the press. Please act on Cele and the other nut who spent all the SA poor's money visiting his drug smuggling girlfriend in jail - and stop the wasteful spending of money on houses. Get your mate who is out on "medical parole" back in jail and admit corruption without trying to go to court. Or is it a culture??

  • mastersvoice - 2011-10-20 10:55

    Malema says he's being persecuted by the ANC, and Zuma says he's being persecuted by the media! Sounds like the ANC "leadership" is nothing more than a bunch of cry-babies!

      Du - 2011-10-22 04:09

      Presies, dit is waarom ek hom 'n fopspeen aanbied.

  • Zebelon - 2011-10-20 22:05

    If you become indecisive when you should necessarily make a decision, and when you are vindictive when there is no call for such action, then let the media spell it out. Eventually, it boils down to punctility and sound judgement.

  • Sanele - 2011-11-18 10:00

    Most South Africans (mainly White)cannot really be objective but let their race and hatred stand in the way. The president is calling on the media to be fair in their reporting and report on truth, he is discouraging the acts of reporting suspicions and guesses as facts. He calls on them to be more objective and honest in their reporting and do not mislead the public. That's the issue in question, IT IS NOTHING ABOUT ZUMA'S CREDENTIALS AS PRESIDENT! He's not saying he's good here, so all these derogatroy utterances directed to him don't make sense given the subject. So for these many white racists and haters it's so difficult to comment on the issues in question without labelling the speaker and calling him names. YOU SEEM TO BE OBSESSED WITH ZUMA! I'm not a big fan of Zuma myself, but i wish we can look at things more objectively and not judge what a man has to say based on our race and political affiliations. And let me remind you, the guy may be disgusting but you know what, he's your president and he might be coming back for a second term! Damn haters!!

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