ANC abandons cartoon issue

By Drum Digital
30 May 2014

The African National Congress will not take any further action against Eyewitness News about a "racist" cartoon on its website.

The African National Congress will not take any further action against Eyewitness News about a "racist" cartoon on its website, the party said on Friday.

"We will leave it to Prime Media to deal with the matter internally. They have apologised and we are happy they are dealing with it," spokesman Keith Khoza said.

The party protested on Friday outside Prime Media's Johannesburg offices, which owns EWN.

Khoza said party members marched to Prime Media because the cartoon had raised various concerns.

"It was racist, an insult to voters, and showed disrespect to the public office."

He said the cartoon undermined freedom of choice and democracy.

"We felt compelled to take up this issue of racism because of where we come from as the country. If we don't take it up, this level of racism will keep on appearing... ."

The party met Prime Media's management and its editorial team.

"They have apologised and committed to dealing with the matter internally. We are happy and hope the people they insulted appreciate whatever action they take."

The party's youth league said editors should start taking responsibility for what their newsrooms published.

"The cartoonist highlights the radicalism that reigns in the minds of the liberal newsrooms supported by pseudo-political analysts," spokesman Bandile Masuku said.

The league said the SA National Editors' Forum should help its members embrace democracy, non-racialism, and non-sexism.

The Congress of SA Trade Union said EWN and Prime Media should admit the cartoon they published was racist.

"Cosatu demands that EWN, and Prime Media admit that the cartoon was racist in the way it falsely portrayed ANC voting clowns as exclusively black," spokesman Patrick Craven said in a statement.

He said the media house should issue a formal apology and refuse to continue publishing work by the cartoonists responsible.

The SA Communist Party added its voice to the outrage.

"The SACP condemns in strongest terms the racism that persists in the media in all its manifestations, hidden, disguised, and open," spokesman Alex Mashilo said in a statement.

The cartoon, by Dr Jack & Curtis, titled "Congress of Clowns. And the clowns who voted them in", was posted on EWN's website and subsequently removed. It depicts newly appointed ministers as clowns with big red noses.

On the side is another group of clowns, representing voters, who are darkly shaded and stand and watch, accompanied by a description reading "we the poephols".

"We at EWN apologise for any unintended offence caused. We at EWN will continue to strive for free speech and editorial independence," it said in a statement on its website. - Sapa

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