'Hostile, white' media slammed

2009-08-25 14:34

Johannesburg - International and local media came under fire on Tuesday for reports that suggested SA gold medallist, Caster Semenya was a man, not a woman.

Leading the pack was ANC Youth league leader Julius Malema, followed by Athletics SA president Leonard Chuene and ANC MP Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.

"Once again the white-controlled media is wrong... please stop bothering Caster, she needs time to celebrate," Malema told a press briefing at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg.

By questioning Semenya's gender the media was undermining, "the woman who gave birth to her and all women of SA...

"The media who wanted to plant a seed that there was something questionable regarding her gender, including those who complained to the International Association of Athletics Federations earlier this year are undermining all women of SA."

"...Those radio commentators, at least we know your views, not only towards Caster, but to all of us. We know your loyalty lies in Australia," Malema said.

'Traumatised' by media

Chuene said he was "traumatised" by the media just like Semenya was.

"She [Caster] has been traumatised. I am traumatised... I have been traumatised by the international hostile media."

Madikizela-Mandela said: "They can write what they like, but nothing is going to dampen the spirit of this little girl.

"To those out there who performed those tests... they can stuff their tests."

Referring to journalists, she said: "We know your responsibility is to inform us, but do so patriotically without insulting one of our own. Use the freedom of press we gave you properly, because we can take it from you."

Chuene, who earlier told a media briefing that reports questioning Semenya's gender originated from within the country, would not be drawn to revealing which media organisation or journalist was responsible for reporting of Semenya to athletics governing body the IAAF.

"The problem of Caster not being a girl comes from South Africa, not Australia. But I have to observe protocol and inform the state president first," he said.