Rhino given newsmaker award despite heavy criticism

2013-04-13 09:08

The South African rhino was named the 2012 Newsmaker of the Year in Pretoria, the National Press Club has said.

The animal had been in the news consistently all year, club chairwoman Antoinette Slabbert said yesterday.

She said it was critical that institutions and individuals took action against the killing of rhinos.

Insurance company Aon’s CEO Anton Roux said media coverage of the problem had played a pivotal role.

“While the rhino has dominated headlines for all the wrong reasons, the media has played a fundamental role in informing not only South Africans, but the world about the massive tragedy that is unfolding in our country.”

The National Press Club came under heavy criticism in January after it announced the rhino as its 2012 newsmaker.

In that year 34 miners were shot and killed in Marikana, many Limpopo schoolchildren did not receive textbooks, ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema was expelled from the party and the multi-million-rand security upgrade at President Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla homestead made headlines.

“The announcement came as a surprise and shock to me. I agree rhinos were in the news in 2012, but newsmaker? Surely not,” the club’s former chairman Yusuf Abramjee said in January.

In 2011 Public Protector Thuli Madonsela and Julius Malema shared the award.

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