Govt spent R10m on The New Age ads - DA

Johannesburg - Communications Minister Faith Muthambi on Sunday defended government's advertising spending after criticism from opposition party the DA.

"The department of communications' in-house media buying team directs strategic government media buying using Telmar Media's suite of world-wide leading media advertising software and services used for reach, frequency and optimisation," she said in a statement.

"Government uses mass communication to fulfil its mandate to communicate to the largest possible spread of South Africans."

DA MP Gavin Davis said Muthambi must explain how more than R10m was spent on advertising in The New Age newspaper in the last financial year.

He questioned how government could spend R10.2m on The New Age with a readership of 15 300, while spending a similar amount of R10.4m, on the Sowetan which had a much bigger readership of 1.6 million.

"A comparison with the biggest newspapers shows just how skewed government ad spend is towards the Gupta-owned newspaper, despite its low readership," Davis said in a statement.

"A comparison with publications of a similar-sized readership to The New Age underscores just how much of an 'outlier' the newspaper is in terms of government spend."

He referred to The Herald, The Mercury and Pretoria News, which had a similar number of readers to The New Age.

However, Muthambi on Sunday said a national newspaper like The New Age could not be compared to metropolitan newspapers.

"If we followed honourable Davis MP's argument, government would need to advertise in a greater number of metropolitan newspapers, in all provinces to match the footprint of The New Age, at a greater cost than that of advertising in The New Age," she said.

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