Reports of an ANC plan to ‘starve’ newspapers are ‘mischievous’

2014-12-12 11:12

A report that top newspapers are being punished for insulting President Jacob Zuma is mischievous, ANC spokesperson Zizi Kodwa said.

“The allegation is wrong and mischievous. It suggests that the government cannot consider austerity measures in relation to media buying,” Kodwa said, adding: “The government has a right to cut costs where it can.”

The Mail & Guardian reported today that the government intended implementing a plan to “starve” the Sunday Times, Mail & Guardian and City Press of advertising worth millions of rand.

An unnamed government official was quoted as saying the three newspapers had been sustaining “an anti-ANC and anti-government onslaught” on the “democratic state”.

The newspaper reported that the biggest beneficiary of the switch in advertising would be Independent Newspapers, under the ownership of Iqbal Survé.

Kodwa said austerity measures were announced during former finance minister Pravin Gordhan’s term of office.

He said the government had undertaken to cut wasteful expenditure and spend less on nonessentials.

“That began long ago. The allegation can’t be made now.”

Kodwa said the accusation that the three newspapers were being punished was false.

“We are a democracy. We even support those who disagree with us. It is not so that this is because of punishment. Our government will never take such a position,” he said.

“But the government has a right to cut costs in terms of value for money, under austerity measures. There is also nothing wrong if the government consolidates media buying-power.”

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