Zulu Royal Household may vet journalists with 'ulterior motives'

2015-12-10 20:23
King Goodwill Zwelithini (City Press)

King Goodwill Zwelithini (City Press)

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Durban – The Royal Household is mulling over whether to screen journalists attending events where King Goodwill Zwelithini will be in attendance, his advisor, Judge Jerome Ngwenya said on Thursday.

Ngwenya was speaking on the sidelines of an exclusive sod turning ceremony where businessman Vivian Reddy’s Edison Corporation and Rob Alexander of Ducatus Property Group unveiled a R3bn mixed-use development.

"Some journalists have an agenda and want to portray the king in a bad light and that is now justifying a stage where journalists will have to be accredited when they approach the Royal Family.

"While the king and the Royal family respect freedom of speech, one wonders if some journalists are executing their journalistic work or other ulterior motives."

Ngwenya said he had received a message from a journalist who was concerned about the way the king was being portrayed in the media.

"If this is coming from journalists themselves, it says a lot."

The Mercury reported on Monday that Zwelithini had praised the National Party, saying it "had built a powerful government with the strongest economy and army" on the continent, but then came "this so-called democracy" in "which black people started destroying the gains of the past".

Zwelithini also reportedly said that Afrikaners respected him very much.

But Royal Household spokesperson Prince Thulani Zulu told News24 that the king had been quoted out of context.

"Both the Mercury and Isolezwe were both there, but on Monday, the papers had completely different stories.

"So one begins to wonder why they took that stance, maybe they have personal issues with the Royal family. That is my suspicion because what is clear is that you cannot talk about this country without talking about the past."

Ngwenya reiterated Zulu’s sentiments, saying the king was concerned about some South Africans who had a tendency to selectively destroy infrastructure.

Executive director of the South African National Editor’s Forum (Sanef), Mathatha Tsedu, said the king was a leader whose welfare was funded by the public purse and, therefore, his activities were of public interest.

"If at any point King Zwelithini feels aggrieved by the coverage of either his utterances or his event, the South African media landscape have sufficient mechanisms for redress."

Tsedu said the king could approach the Press Council of South Africa and the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa if he was concerned about media coverage.

"Sanef sees no reason for an extraneous mechanism of vetting journalists that will have to be put in place by his office," he said.

Right2Know Campaign’s Micah Reddy said the Royal Household would need reasonable grounds to prevent journalists from covering events attended by the king. 

"I think the king is insecure and cannot control his mouth. This is the only way that he would be able to control the narrative of him in the media. He is a public figure, the press have the right to scrutinise him," said Reddy
Read more on:    sanef  |  right2know  |  king goodwill zwelithini  |  durban  |  media

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