DA: Govt ad plan an abuse of power

2011-06-10 18:28

Johannesburg - Government's plan to use advertising as a means of rewarding publications for favourable reporting is a "gross abuse" of power, the Democratic Alliance said on Friday.

"Plans announced to this effect yesterday by... government spokesperson, Jimmy Manyi, are clearly aimed at turning the free media into a propaganda outlet for the government," DA MP Natasha Michael said in a statement.

"Such a move will not only constitute a gross abuse of power, but will undermine the strength of one of the most crucial democratic institutions - the free media."

Michael said centralising government's advertising budget under Government communications and information system (GCIS) would give the body significant power to promote or ignore media outlets based on what they were reporting.

Criticising and reporting

"Mr Manyi yesterday referred to the 'role we want the media to play, that of passing on information of government'."

"His comments display a complete disregard for the role and function of a strong free media, and underline this administration's deeply concerning intolerance of criticism," she said.

Announcing the plan on Thursday, Manyi reportedly appealed to the media to not only criticise, but also to report on important information which South Africans deserved to know.

He voiced concern that some media organisations criticised information from the government instead of reporting it to the public.

DA to oppose govt approach

While the government welcomed media criticism, it was also important for the media to "pass on" government information, especially on service delivery, he said.

"We have content, please pass it on... Government is serious about information getting to the people, we don't apologise about that."

Manyi said approval of the strategy would result in "a return to government's centralised approach to media buying".

The DA would continue to use all available mechanisms to oppose government's increasingly authoritarian approach to the free flow of information, Michael said.

  • Werner - 2011-06-10 18:40

    They really should start reporting on positive governmental outputs. I know it's generally hard to believe, but they do get a lot of things right too. If the media only reports the negative, they give government incentive to bring in censorship laws. Don't be stupid like the white folk in Zimbabwe. Gave Bob the finger one too many times and look what happened. Yeah, I SAID IT!

      Grayman - 2011-06-10 18:48

      Werner, you are correct with your sentiment, but I cannot agree with your facts. The media is full of reports on what the ANC is doing. There are some very one sided reports on how great a new water scheme is or another housing project. Unfortunately sensation sells papers. The good that the ANC does is not sensational, but the bugger-ups that they make certainly are. You cannot blame the papers for following the model that keeps them in business, and their raw material is so readily available.

      Valis - 2011-06-10 19:28

      Please point out ONE single thing this government have done right?

      Grayman - 2011-06-10 19:45

      @ Valis: I have to give them credit for awesome marketing of their brand before elections. They get an A for spindoctoring. Brilliant at embezzeling tax payers money.

      Tebza - 2011-06-10 19:49

      @Werner, I think media biase is the problem. If media report negative on Government, ANC, DA, IFP in the same manner. We know people will argue that ANC is a rulling party, but then DA is also a rulling party in Khayelitsha and many other rural farms in the western cape, but we don't see the same level of negative reporting. Otherwise I personally think that media carryon reporting the negative in order to expose all evils of corruption, lack of service delivery regardless of who is in government

      jbjoe - 2011-06-10 20:13

      ok, we wont be stupid...thanks for the tip

      za101 - 2011-06-10 20:32

      go to and sign the petition to challenge manyi. stopped the bahrain gp. they can stop manyi

      cliffarc - 2011-06-11 12:13

      - Werner - Close scrutiny and vigilance of a ruling govt's actions is vital for a healthy democracy. And criticism of wrongdoing , or not doing,is absolutely neccessary. Those are the checks and balances that are the built -in safety features of a democratic system. Your analogy of Mugabe getting peed off because of constant criticism does'nt wash - he was never interested in democracy from the word go. When it comes to the Anc govt. the balance of the positives against the negatives reportcard ,is an overwhelmingly negative outcome - they have failed on many more things than they have succeeded. This new attempt , to influence the media using our taxes in order to perpetuate their incompetance and enforce their grip on power is quite frankly deplorable and simply does not belong in a democracy.

      World Traveler - 2011-06-14 10:10

      If the anc is bent on censoring the press why should the press report anything positive about them? They are making themselves into the enemy of the free press. The press MUST BE FREE without threat! Captain Morgan for President!

      World Traveler - 2011-06-14 10:19

      @Werner - The job of the government is to deliver on their election promises. Full stop! Spending tax cash on publicizing their "successes" is an abuse of power.

  • semaj - 2011-06-10 18:44

    Government is NOT the ANC, let us get that straight right from the start. Government is a beast with many heads, and should very clearly seen to be an organ of the voice of the public. If Manyi or anybody else wishes to turn it into an ANC mouthpiece, then that should be most strongly resisted. It is about time that Party Whips should be abolished and parliament voted along the lines of national interest, not Party politics.

      Grayman - 2011-06-10 19:42

      @semaj - When the ANC had more than a 2/3 majority they had the mandate to push through policies without consulting other parties. Therefore ANC = government. Thankfully that majority is on the wane and they do not weild supreme executive power, but they do use their majority to vote in ANC legislation, eg the Info Bill on the go right now! As for it being an organ for the voice of the public, just have a look at the protests occuring in so many areas. Clearly the concept of democracy is not fully understood in South Africa yet, so although the ruling party garnered the most votes, it cannot be construed as a voice of the public.

      York Hunt - 2011-06-14 10:02

      Unfortunately the SABC IS the ANC's mouthpiece already. They want to buy airtime on "E" TV as well!

  • Grayman - 2011-06-10 18:44

    Why don't people start calling it what it is ... BLACKMAIL. Or is that a racist word???

  • frangelico - 2011-06-10 18:47

    Trust the ANC to use their dirty tactics for which they are known for to ganner more support.Of cource those dumb enough will believe the usual promises & support these MICE.But every day more & more see through the lies & empty promises,therefore reward those who shout the praises of the ANC.The truth be told the ANC IS RUNNING scared,with general elections just round the corner they may not loose,but they will have lost alot more support by then.

      WIZZ - 2011-06-10 20:12

      FANCY that.. the ANC is running scared. I say F the ANC or as some say FANC that

  • Siphoxxx - 2011-06-10 18:48

    these da are stupit if they think they can credit our government that is demokraticaly elected they are losers for malema

      USSA - 2011-06-10 18:54

      Is that some coded language? I am processing it now. Ah means, "I am stupid...forgive me."

      Worldwise - 2011-06-11 13:41

      Sipho, please present an argument and not just a simple statement on a forum. We can all say someone or other is "stupit" without clarifying our statements. Unfortunately nobody knows what argument you are trying to convey though and you look stupid. Looks like you may be a bit young to vote by the content of your statements. Why don't you join the Julias Malema fan club on the internet? Or how about Maybe you might meet a nice girl who will take your hormones off politics.

      apie - 2011-06-11 15:29

      sipharse, pse learn some english before commenting, moron.

      frangelico - 2011-06-12 20:34

      @NUMSA where have you been,looking everywhere 4 you,we desperately need people like you in the ANC,so we can communicate in whatever code,language you have used above in your comment.

      York Hunt - 2011-06-14 10:03

      @NUMSA. Spoken like a real IDIOT!

      Gazza69 - 2011-06-21 10:42 Sorry i don't speak "dumbass!!!!" What a plonker!

  • USSA - 2011-06-10 18:52

    So the government "Welcomes media criticism"...Awesome! YOU SUCK AT EVERY SINGLE THING YOU DO! You really do. Take that to the bank with my taxes you bunch of fraudulent, insolent apes!

      Valis - 2011-06-10 19:29

      Haha, great avatar. ;)

      jbjoe - 2011-06-10 20:11

      no no, i think its Critisicm with a capitol know, zuma's 115th child's name

  • umlaut - 2011-06-10 19:37

    One can't believe what one is reading. They are constantly trying to turn democracy into a dictatorship. SA is in deep deep trouble because they will eventually break this democracy, like they seem to stuff up everything they touch. If they do good we will know about it because that rarely happens. So they want to bring in official bribing that you and I will pay for. Zapiro can probably not keep up with cartoons on the pathetic schemes of the demoncrats. The anc is our nightmare and it will eventually probably get the same treatment as the Gedaffi regime--bombing dictators out of power by the international community. The anc must go on a crashcourse and write an exam on what a democracy is, run by Obama, because they don't have the slightest clue.

      Tebza - 2011-06-10 20:16

      @umlaut, maybe they shouldn't touch your pre-94 government so that you could remain happy. I think ANC is not good. I wish we can bring back Verwoerd and Botha. Maybe if our Eugene Terblanch was still alive he could have been a good President. Oh, what about revoking that referendum which brought this bladie ANC democracy. oh no maybe we should , mmmmm, let us complain about ANC everyday maybe....mmmmm

      apie - 2011-06-11 15:32

      Tebza, are you on drugs, bru? You sound pretty incoherent. But yes I agree, pre 94 was better for EVERYBODY.

  • cgtours - 2011-06-10 20:38

    The ANC is scared of the Media-because the truth comes out! They will try all means whatever it may take to hide the fraud and corruption and the HIGH LIFE THEY LEAD( NOGAL OVER AND ABOVE THEIR SALARIES AND THEIR PERKS)LIKE 5 STAR hOTELS.EMBEZZLING tRAVEL ALOWACES/oVERSEAS jAUNTS WHICH ARE SHOPPING TRIPS.The Travelgate EMBEZZLERS/ FRAUDSTERS are sitting in Parlement instead of jail!-do you think it has stopped ?NO because they do not go to jail!Why on earth does any Government or particularly this Government want to hide their goings on? BECAUSE IT IS ALL CORRUPTION. THEY ARE STARTING TO RUN SCARED!Maybe we need the DEATH SENTENCE for POLITICIANS,LIKE IN china!Ask the President who would still be alive in his Cabinet?He goes to try and jolly up to the Chinese. He know pretty well what happens to corrupt Politicians there!( By the way, the Chinese find Zuma hilarious!)Ask South Africans of all colours working there.Leave the free press alone/get the mess the Country is in sorted for this Manyi he has nothing better to do /costs Taxpayers a lot of money- Get rid of him!Retire him or just permanently, as they do in a lot of Countries. Maybe that will work here as well, deliver-if you are skelm-you are GONE.Maybe that will stop corruption. Permanently?-What did I read just a few days ago,it is cheap R 2000, also stated by High Ranking Politician!He is putting ideas in many not so highly educated,struggling desperate people to solve many of our obstacles immediately.

  • eradingoana - 2011-06-10 20:46

    This a political black mail when the party is becoming so stranded. Bribery is an offence but when done by government it becomes national betrayal. Oh! African National Corruption

  • Joryha - 2011-06-10 21:55

    This is media manipulation by the ANC and its is equal to censorship. Once again the ANC has shown that it does not support freedom of the press. To the journalists and cartoonists, this is most unfair towards creative writing and reporting and expression through drawings/cartoons.

  • zs5zk - 2011-06-11 11:51

    It is BLATANT THEFT of Tax Payers MONEY to use positive PROPAGANDA techniques for the ANC-ANCER PARTY and NOT to put the GOVERNMENT of South Africa in a positive light.IT IS A ANC-ANCER PROPAGANDA PLOY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This whole exercise is a drive to uplift and advertise the ANC as a PARTY. It must be stopped in its tracks immediately as this is not in the Job Description of the Government.They can build hundreds of houses with that money which i have no problem with using Tax Money.

  • Jenni - 2011-06-11 19:34

    The funding belongs to the public, the people of SA - not the ANC - it is not for the ANC to decide how it is spent - it is for the government. The ANC must stop confusing party and state.

  • maseratifitt - 2011-06-12 02:16

    "Mr Manyi yesterday referred to the 'role we want the media to play, that of passing on information of government'." That is easy to do. Just allow the media free access to all government meetings and records. This will cost the taxpayer no money. How many times have we heard that " the minister refused to comment", "was not available for comment" "did not reply to telephonic inquiries" or "did not pitch for a news conference" ?? This ANC is getting more arrogant by the day.

  • KOlsen - 2011-06-14 06:40

    . . . first step towards dictatorship . . .

  • TK - 2011-06-14 09:42

    Mr Manyi, it is so easy to get into the media with what the government is doing - get the relevant minister to do some work and come up with a good strategy and plan of action to tackle the pressing problems in his portfolio. Them call a press conference and launch the program. Then we all will be excited because the government is actually doing something and you will get into the news - for free nogal. Then you can take the R1 Billion and build in the region of 20000 RDP houses! Then guess what - you will get into the news again - for free again nogal!

  • ShRoOm PoPsiCLe - 2011-06-14 09:55

    And we have to pay for this rubbish? I don't want to listen to some dude who is spending my money to upkeep his fancy lifestyle. I want them to be out there doing stuff! Keep these clowns off our TV!

  • Afro-centric - 2011-06-14 09:59

    I strongly encourage preservation of our history as our heritage. However; sometimes history can be the greatest enemy of progress. Times of moaning the injustices by the pre-1994 regime is overdue and we should not prolong it anymore. This is standing on the way of unity and positive development. The same goes for media. Negative sensational reporting by the media is sowing seeds of hatret withing South African racial communities. We should focus our energy on building a stable country so that we can see the next generations through our children and grandchildren. We are all the children of mother nature and God created us differently for a good reson and we should live our lifes with a good purpose. An everlasting love for each other is what we need to be able to live in harmony.

  • World Traveler - 2011-06-14 10:06

    This is TOTALITARIANISM - cf NAZIS, STALIN, NORTH KOREA. The only way to stop this stupidity is to vote DA! Even if you are an anc "lifetime" supporter who wants a moral anc.

  • KomboKitten - 2011-06-14 10:15

    the anc is a filthy scourge.

  • World Traveler - 2011-06-14 10:20

    The job of the government is to deliver on their election promises. Full stop! Spending tax cash on publicizing their "successes" is an abuse of power. Captain Morgan for President!

  • World Traveler - 2011-06-14 10:23

    How about a regular one-on-one debate live on TV? Zille versus Zuma? Never happen as Zuma is terrified of Zille!

  • thamixulu - 2011-06-21 11:24

    Thami Xulu: it's funny when people talk about ANC and a lack of service delivery, the very service delivery they got to know of because of the ANC. Apartheid ruled for years and you knew nothing about service delivery until ANC and today you are expects in how it should be done. But back on the topic, indeed there is so much development that the S.A gover does especially in rural areas that sees no spot light in the media. Ofcourse every coin has the head and a tail side. How can we eradicate corruption if we don't know there was even money to begin with? Why should it be always DA who exposes corruption - only them can get their hands on the corruption information? Why can't people (tax payers) be the ones who also exposes corruption first rather than DA telling them "listern, your money was stollen from you". Let there be a platform where we an follow the story from the beginning till the end without hijacking it in the middle when the money is lost. I still propose the national newspaper which we will find for free in taxi ranks, bus stations and at companies where government would tell us how much money it has given, to where, then we can also do self-monitoring just like in Britain. LO UMBONO WAM!

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