Media points finger firmly at Manyi

2011-06-21 22:39

Johannesburg - Government communications head Jimmy Manyi is to blame for rapidly deteriorating relations between the media and the state, SA National Editors' Forum (Sanef) chairperson Mondli Makhanya said on Tuesday.

"Not even in the days of Essop Pahad [former minister in the presidency] have things been so bad," Makhanya said.

Relations were gradually improving after a Sanef meeting with Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe last year, but since Manyi took the reigns of the GCIS earlier this year, they began deteriorating.

"It's headed for rock bottom. The relationship cannot be undone by one man."

While acknowledging that in a democratic society relations between the media and government was problematic, Makhanya said that in the past, government and the media in South Africa had "fought respectfully".

Editors held a meeting with Manyi and a Government Communication and Information Systems (GCIS) delegation on Wednesday last week to address the matter but the gathering "broke down very badly".

"We deadlocked," said Makhanya.

Sanef has now asked for an urgent meeting with Manyi's boss, Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane, to discuss the deterioration of relations between government communications and themselves.

Personal attacks

Deputy chairperson of Sanef, Mary Papayya said on Tuesday: "The letter has been delivered," after an urgent Sanef meeting which followed a 702 Talk Radio interview in which Manyi said Sanef had shown "cartel-like tendencies".

Manyi said he could not understand why the media was so hostile to government, and denied ever saying that the government's centralised media buying strategy meant that anti-government publications would not receive government advertising spend.

The threat about advertising was a "fiction", Manyi said.

Papayya said: "The decision from our editors was very simple and that is that clearly we are worried about the seeming deterioration of relations between GCIS and ourselves."

They made it clear in their letter to Chabane that they had enjoyed cordial and civil relations with government communications in the past, but felt that these were now at a low ebb.

They asked for an urgent meeting with Sanef leadership regarding GCIS but also remained committed to a declaration that they would meet Cabinet later this year.

"We won't comment about personal attacks...," she said of Manyi's comments on Makhanya, who had earlier said the media must stand together if the government threatened to play them off against each other over advertising revenue.

Makhanya said editors hoped the meeting with Chabane would assist in rescuing relations between government and the media which had reached an all-time low.

The National Press Club called for government intervention "at the highest level" after what it said were more frequent attacks on the media by Manyi, NPC general manager Ben Rootman said.

"Manyi's frequent attacks on the media are getting out of hand and not conducive to efforts towards finding common ground and nurturing better relations between government and the media fraternity.

"Government needs to intervene at the highest level to remedy the situation," said Rootman.

"Jimmy Manyi's comments are most worrying. His suggestion that the media is conspiring to criticise government is not only disingenuous, but ridiculous. The media fraternity is extremely concerned about Manyi's hostility."

Cartel-like tendencies

Manyi was asked if there was conspiracy among editors against government and whether he was suggesting that editors call each other and say "let's nail government on this one".

He replied: "I heard the comments from Mondli Makhanya on the Maggs on Media where they are saying they must work together - that worried me - he is the chairman of Sanef..."

Makhanya is also editor-in-chief of Avusa media newspapers, which includes The Sunday Times.

"I was shocked to hear those kind of almost cartel-like tendencies. I thought that was shocking comments from a very senior person in that space."

He continued: "If he says let's work together he must be saying something that is shared amongst his peers. This is the issue."

That edition of Maggs on Media was billed as a discussion on Manyi's "rules for media outlets to receive slices of government's advertising cake".

Manyi repeatedly told 702 Talk Radio host John Robbie that the threats to be more favourable towards certain media were a "fiction".

"I said we are going to put it where we get bulk discounts, and it's going to be bulk discounts at maximum coverage, that's what we are doing."

He continued: "You see one of the challenges we have with media is this kind of approach that you are taking... you have got this media tendencies of creating your own fiction..."

He continued: "Once you have created this fiction you passionately believe in this fiction and everybody must react to it."

"The government had never created the linkage that you are creating. Don't create you own fiction and then everybody must chase after this fiction."

Bang for their buck

According to a transcript of a media briefing on Cabinet decisions held on June 9, Manyi said everybody would continue to get their "fair share of the cake, but they would use a "scientific approach" to get more "bang for their buck", and to reach different categories of audiences.

"What does bang for your buck mean? It is a very simple thing as government we have a lot of information to communicate as government. We do not want to be done any favours by anyone but what we report as government we would like to see that covered because we think media has a role not only as a watchdog but also a role to provide information."

They were frustrated by the information flow of government work and wanted people to know about government service delivery.

The criteria was not to write "good about government", the criteria was "if anything else" to report on government work.

"The only thing that is happening is just criticism, so we are saying just create a balance. Criticise, yes carry on criticising you will help us, we want it.

"But as you do please also communicate that which government is trying to communicate otherwise it means we will have to resort to our own means as it were.

"So this partnership that we must have must be a partnership that is mutually rewarding, it must be mutually beneficial. We have content, please pass on the content and by all means criticise it as much as you can but first pass it on, that is the issue."

  • Mike@CapeT - 2011-06-21 23:17

    Manyi needs to understand that it is logical for the media to be hostile to a corrupt and inefficient Government. If the Government was doing its job properly, there would be little reason for the media to be hostile. The media tends to acknowledge good governance.

      Flamewulf - 2011-06-21 23:26

      Amen, Mike.

      Che Guevara - 2011-06-22 07:58

      @Mike, Your comment seems to prove Manyi's point as your impression of government is already a negative one. A picture painted by the media. I'm not saying the picture is wrong, but surely it's not the complete picture. I feel SANEF is trying to have their cake and eat it too. If government is paying for advertisinf space and media is benefiting, it's only fair for government to request that apart from the critisism there are also stories related to the good that they are doing, which in my opinion are non existent. Well done Manyi for sticking to your guns...

      Dan Grey - 2011-06-22 08:27

      @Che Your logic is faulty. List the good things the government has done and I'll bet that you'll find that the media did cover this. Then list the bad things the government has done and I'll bet you'll find that the media has covered this as well. Is it the fault of the media if the bad things far outweigh the good in terms of numbers and sheer magnitude. Racism works like that as well. If you hear of a specific race torturing, killing raping as if there is no tomorrow, you are going to find that prejudice against that specific race will be created. What you and others like you would like, is for a government body to exist that can censor information. Everyday the government takes baby steps in a certain direction and the route is the same one that the Nazi's took.

      WiseOwl2 - 2011-06-22 08:27

      Goverment cant make one Manyi guilty. The problem is that the whole as in collective is the problem. Take a look at the bigger picture,the minorities Coloureds,Whites,Indians and media relations have deteriorated . I think we have a bigger problem here than just the media.

      cliffarc - 2011-06-22 08:32

      - @Che G - After considering the fact that it's taxpayers money used for newspaper advertising, I'd say your argument falls absolutely flat.

      Kisha - 2011-06-22 08:36

      @ Che Guevara Yes you have a point, the government gave free health care.....good move, however this has been overshadowed by corruption and mismanagement. The government gave RDP housing.....good move, but this has been overshadowed by corruption and mismanagement...... shall I go on?

      shmangle - 2011-06-22 08:43

      Che Guevara - Our perception of government as negative, is based on observation of their performance. We don't think the government is incompetent and corrupt because we "just don't like them", we observe behaviour, and draw our conclusions from that. It's what thinking people do.

      Rolie - 2011-06-22 08:45

      @che - Please explain the good the ANC is doing????

      Chronoman - 2011-06-22 09:09

      @Che, the good things are indeed reported but the psychological impact of the bad things - due to their frequency, extent and implication - make it seem as if ony the bad is reported.

      myancmyfutur - 2011-06-22 09:51

      The only people who haven't seen what goveranment has done are those who have had it all.For all of you who hide behind your high walls and rely on the biased media you will only see one side of the story. Next time during the holiday season tow your caravan and visit the rural parts of the Country and townships and see what government has done over the past 16 years.

      Cire - 2011-06-22 11:46

      Hey hey Che - your comment makes as little sense the real Che did.

      Sean - 2011-06-22 13:32

      100% correct Mike. If the ANC was doing what they are supposed to be doing then the media would have little to say. Instead, the ANC is mired in corruption, infighting and bad governance and the press are just doing exactly what the people of SA demand of them. Keeping us informed. The ANC seems to have forgotten who this country actually belongs to and who pays to keep it running.

      StoneAngel - 2011-06-22 14:32

      Che Guevara - me thinks that you have missed an important point regarding advertising and the matter at hand - the issue is that the Government should be looking to advertise (use our/taxpayers money) wherever they get the very BEST coverage for the target market irrespective of the fact that those who have the largest coverage do not always write what the government would like them to write.

  • OZNOB - 2011-06-21 23:38

    what do they expect in a democracy that the press cow tow to every whim of the governmentand to laud it when the government tries to muzzle it. ag please the government needs to realise that the press are just doing their job correctly by reporting and lampooning the failures of government . mike@capetown could not have put it better

      Creeky - 2011-06-22 08:04

      Only way around this issue, is to SHOW MANYI the "MANYI".... he does have DEEP POCKETS AND EXPENSIVE HABITS!

  • Lunguza - 2011-06-21 23:38

    The argument that the focus on government is because its using taxpayers money is invalid. Women and child abuse receive so much attention but it has very little to do with taxpayers money. Why does media in general shy away from the negative news in the private sector. We all know that there is racism, sexual abuse, corruption, nepotism,etc., in the private sector, but these do not get as much attention as they should. The question is why? Please do not mention taxpayers in this argument.

      WC Republic - 2011-06-22 02:49

      The bottom line is that newspapers want to make money. It doesn't matter if there's a story in the public or private sector, if it's juicy enough it will be published. The media aren't after government, they want to make money. Newspapers are generally not into publishing lies, as doing so will lead to the paper losing credibility and readership will drop

      BN2010 - 2011-06-22 02:53

      @Lunguza, I think the focus is not so much on taxpayers as it is on the fact that the government is supposed to represent the interests of the people. In South Africa, the broad spectrum is not the same as the taxpayers. Taxpayers are only a small percentage of the population. However, the difference lies in the fact that the private sector acts out of self-interest and there is bound to be corruption, and the media do report on it . The simple fact is that without corruption in the private sector there would be no corruption in the government. THAT is the ultimate failure of a government that allows corruption to flourish. If the government punished would not happen in either sector. The private sector will not police itself...that is why we have a government in the first place.

      WC Republic - 2011-06-22 02:57

      Actually Julius should ask the newspapers for a royalty cheque. He's been selling so many papers for them lately.

      tkotze - 2011-06-22 07:58

      Newspapers are there to make money, they are a business. They put stories in the papers that they believe will sell. For a story to sell they must believe that the people who buy their papers or listen to their news will be interested. That translates to releasing stories about things the public cares about. Currently the public cares about bad governance, and it cares about rape trials, murderers, crime etc. They care less about news houses built. Would you not agree that it is more important for you to know about murderers, rapists, corruption in your leaders etc than new toilet projects? When there is a story about a hero, a policeman who saved a family that also ends up in the papers since people like to hear this. The content of media will naturally change when the things public care and worry about changes. So sort out corruption, sort out the high murder rates and naturally people will become more positive and less worried and positive stories will fill the papers. Media should always purely focus on the public, not the government. If you want something else you need to change the democratic structure of the country to a government controlled entity where the public don't get a say.

      Dan Grey - 2011-06-22 08:31

      @Lungiza: "Why does media in general shy away from the negative news in the private sector." This is a very good question. Take farm murders for example. Why does the media only cover about 10% of the murders that do occur. We notice this, because we have access to the internet. For instance in the town where I stay there have been numerous farm type murders, often committed in the most inhumane way you can (or can't) imagine. Why do we only hear about these murders in the regional newspapers and nothing in the main stream media? It is almost as if they are scared people are going to realize that the dream of the rainbow nation is actually a nightmare.

      AfroMaleGp - 2011-06-22 08:34

      @ Lunguza.As an example Vodacom/Mtn but huge advertisements in the Sunday Times.And this big corporations will withdraw their million rands in advertising spend if the above newspaper do not tow thier line.

      AfroMaleGp - 2011-06-22 08:36

      Manyi its ur money u(the gvt) can place it wherever u want.So much spoil brat mentality in South African society.

      AfroMaleGp - 2011-06-22 08:40

      The fact of the matter is that main stream journalists must go back to school as they were taught easy Apartheid stories like "8 mourners killed at night vigil".Now its hard for them to give us quality feel good stories in post-apartheid South Africa.Its the Malema staple diet daily.I do not like Malema but I hate stories that are written without even the journalist getting out of bed.

      1stcase - 2011-06-22 08:57

      Well done to everybody who replied Lunguza, you guys are actually debating on the issue without playing the race card. However I will like to hear you thoughts on this, isn’t it ironic that soon after government started really pushing for the media bill, the GUPTA story broke, then New Age news paper was launched. Critics are saying that this news paper will be a government news paper, therefore they will get the biggest chunk of R1bn government budget, who owns the news paper???

      AfroMaleGp - 2011-06-22 10:13

      New Age was started to be the official gvt mouth piece .The NP had the Citizen .Gvt Ad spend amounts to millions e,g, its job adverts in City Press,Sunday Times,it wants to use this as a bargaining tool to get favourable coverage.I personally don't c anything wrong even big business does this.

      1stcase - 2011-06-22 13:39

      @ afromaleGP, leveraging favourable stories. I hope you not serious chief. The Nats had the citizen was propaganda tool, this tool was use to misinform its supporters. This tool was also used by the NAZI's, ZANU PF, by GADAFI, do i need to say more. Ask yourself do you really want to live in a country where you don’t know what really happens. Chief if it wasn’t for independent news papers, do you think the rest of the world would have none what’s going on here. EGYPT look what happened.

      1stcase - 2011-06-22 13:43

      @AFROMALEGP Do you think that parents will know what happenned to the babies when they die in public hospitals????? CHIEF reports wil be swept under the carpet.HOW many reports was proved to incorrect???

  • CamsComment - 2011-06-21 23:40

    Why the big surprise? How did the government think the media was going to react considering the new legeslation? And then there is manyi .....

  • Wishbone - 2011-06-21 23:45

    I still cannot believe that the government plans to spend R1Billion on "communicating". This is probably more like spin doctoring and adds insult to think that it's MY tax money they are using to do this. Media coverage of government activities is actually free. So when the government wants to actually spend then of course it stinks of a propaganda budget. Between this and the access to information act, what chance have we got of hearing the truth?

      Dan Grey - 2011-06-22 08:33

      It is a pity that OUR money has to wasted like this. The government needs to understand that it is OUR money that they are wasting on trivialities. In this specific case they want to waste it on a ministry of PROPAGANDA. They are starting to sound more and more like the Nazi's.

  • Nuraq - 2011-06-21 23:48

    Manyi, don't blame the mirror.

      Killroy2011 - 2011-06-22 07:27

      Hey Manyi, its still Snow white and never for get it !

  • TamaraSays - 2011-06-22 00:13

    If government focused on governing, and stopped being the most racist, bigoted group in the country, then they wouldn't have to spend billions of tax payers money on their propaganda machine.

      Goose - 2011-06-22 08:22

      Tamara, you make a good point. In the old days, the government just got on with it and you hardly ever saw government advertising. With the ANC now, take the municipalities for example. Every month we get a full colour brochure showing pictures of the illustrious councillors and the brilliant work they are doing. Yet, they don't even supply the most basic of services to their areas. What that says is that we as black swant to be seen and have our names up in lights and be rich and famous, yet in the background we are actually lazy and incompetent. Black people are brilliant at talking but useless at DOING things.

      croix - 2011-06-22 08:23

      You have nailed it 'spot-on'. Manyi is creating the "fiction" he carries on about, the one that the media is on some campaign of hate against the government. If more "governing-tendencies" was shown, instead of the current style of "ruling-tendencies", we'll see a softening of media attitude. The government has made its bed, now it must lie in it! Or does Mr Manyi want the media to be a bunch of condescending and patronising wimps - no matter what? It's called *democracy*, Manyi.

  • WIZZ - 2011-06-22 01:58

    Will someone please uncover Manyi's personal and financial problems the same way that happened to the previous disaster of a govt spokesperson Mr Carl Niehaus. This way they'll force manyo to resign and we can look forward to the next buffoon putting his hand up to be counted as the ANC spoeksperson. Cann't get much worse. Spin doctoring and doublespeak continues shamelessly by the "druling" (over their tenderisation millions) Party. Yip, they just love to Party at the citizen's expense.

  • nonduplume - 2011-06-22 06:57

    The issue is about gov screwing up all the time with rampant corruption being uncovered and never brought to book and incompetance that never gets better and for this gov expects positive reporting. Clena your act up gov and then you can demand and expect good reporting!

  • daaivark - 2011-06-22 07:25

    Manyi is incapable of anything thaqt smacks of reason. He talks with jackboots and could easily have studied under Goebbels. A prize belligerant in a dangerous postion.

      AfroMaleGp - 2011-06-22 08:57

      Journalism and Press objectivity went down the gutters the day they allowed themselves to be embedded on US tanks invading Iraq wearing army uniforms.I'll never ever take them seriously after that.

      Dougalan - 2011-06-22 09:34

      @AfroMale - your reasoning (?) is strange to say the least. Because American journalists were allowed to accompany the USA army overseas, you now do not want to believe local stories of ANC corruption in SA - which are backed by fact? Strange, very strange...Methinks you need to take a course in logic.

      AfroMaleGp - 2011-06-22 11:20

      @Dougalan...I'm referring to Journalism in general and you know what i'm talking about.If the pro's of journalism ,your Reuters-SAPA-CNN ,allow themselves to be used what about the locals.I have plenty examples of why I don't take journalism seriously (locally).Objective,unbiased journalism she's dead.No wonder the relations between the media and the state is "strained".

      jbjoe - 2011-06-22 12:09

      afro, seems to me your in want your government to succeed SO BADLY that you are willing to overlook the truth

  • Badger - 2011-06-22 07:42

    It is simple. manyi is not fit for the position that goverment put him in. He is biased and prejudice towards the media based on his personal skew opinions. Yet another example of cadre employment. Goverment if you want to employ a cadre please make sure he/she is competent to do the job. manyi made a big mistake with his attacks, the media is going to rip him apart.

      biskit - 2011-06-22 08:10

      Media points finger firmly at Manyi - Catchy heading haha

      AfroMaleGp - 2011-06-22 08:50

      Manyi is not fit for the position that goverment put him in. -------------------------------------------------------------- Just because he does not tow the line ?Word of the day :"spoilt brat tendency"-how can u force someone on how to spend their money(Ad spend)

      Badger - 2011-06-22 09:14

      @afromalegp. Where did I suggest he should tow the line? The point is that manyi make personal attacks and fail to be unbiased. On the one hand the goverment of which he is the spokesperson of clam down on the media with proposed draconian laws and at the same time they want to have their bread buttered at both sides. Why was there no such problems with the previous spokesperson? In his position it is not expected to give his opinions, since the public is not interest in that, he should be a "spokesperson" who speak on behalf of goverment and refrain from talking on his own behalf.

      cliffarc - 2011-06-22 13:31

      - @ Afro - The Govt. does'nt have money - It's the money of taxpayers they'll be spending. Get some education before you mouth off your stupidity.

  • Goose - 2011-06-22 08:09

    Manyi says the ANC wants "bang for their buck" The problem is: It is OUR buck, and also the ANC defrauds SA of billions every year so why do they suddenly want bang-for-buck with advertizing??? Manyi is an incompetent ignoramus! As the saying goes..."hung by the tongue"

      biskit - 2011-06-22 08:49

      Well said goose - you're on the buck

  • Riley786 - 2011-06-22 08:12

    Manyi my friend you need to go !!!!! I support you though on the fact that government need to spend their R1,6billion on the media that best suite the nation positively.

  • Khanya.McCutha - 2011-06-22 08:13

    Can`t J Zuma fire this retard?

      cliffarc - 2011-06-22 08:33

      - Along with himself.

  • zulufox - 2011-06-22 08:13

    Why did GCIS get rid of Themba Maseko?

      maseratifitt - 2011-06-22 12:36

      This is a very good question, which I see earned you 1 thumbs down. Themba Maseko was an excellent spokesperson with all the right attributes. Perhaps someone out there has got a logical answer to your question.

  • Sammy - 2011-06-22 08:21

    Being fed excuses,maladministration,laziness(incapacity),corruption,theft,misuse of recources,the list goes on,will give the media in any country a field day to report.If they pull the finger out on discipline and accountability then positive perception will prevail.

  • Chillepeppa - 2011-06-22 08:26

    Boy, they sure like the word 'tendencies', don't they...

      AfroMaleGp - 2011-06-22 11:30

      word of the day : Spoilt Brat tendency or Theory. According to this theory the privilliged brat(now grown up) will cry ,kick and moan even when it knows that its wrong.

      maseratifitt - 2011-06-22 12:46

      The most important thing to the ANC, is the ANC. They see themselves as some sort of royalty, entitled to do as they please. They cannot comprehend that there is more to life than Arrogance, Nepotism and Corruption. That is why they cannot accept honesty, fairness, reliability, accountability, transparency, humility, responsibility, respect for others and hard work. These are all "tendencies" which must be fought tooth and nail.

  • Janine - 2011-06-22 08:26

    The media needs to be fearless - they have to report on cases of crime, corruption etc so that people know what is actually happening in this country. If the ANC weren't doing such a pathetic job then there would be more positive stories about them and I'm sure that the papers would be quite happy to publish those too.

  • The Flying Circus - 2011-06-22 09:04

    Get rid of manyi as fast as possible. He is bad news and dangerous

  • ice cream - 2011-06-22 10:28

    Manyi is sick in his head.

  • John - 2011-06-22 11:16

    Manyi lacks the intellectual capacity to drive a debate. He cannot stand it that the media reports factual evidence regarding the ANC inadequacies. He needs the media the sugarcoat the ANC's blunders. He wants dictatorship rules to apply. He is an embarrisment to South Africa

  • jbjoe - 2011-06-22 12:05

    "So this partnership that we must have must be a partnership that is mutually rewarding, it must be mutually beneficial" that says it all

  • Prince - 2011-06-22 12:28


  • Gauzin - 2011-06-22 17:52

    Now that the cake might be facing another direction the cry. I support Mannyi's sentiments about striking balance. why should Governement continue to sleep with the enemy? kick their asses out and start a government publication. might save you costs in the long run.

  • Zebelon - 2011-06-23 16:06

    The truth is that the media is, and should be, hostile to anything wrong or negative on the part of government. It's sad and rather unfortunate that Manyi expects the media to be nice to, and appeasing the regime that is evidently doing wrong in so many ways.

  • will294 - 2011-06-23 17:18

    The government is receiving constant criticism from the media because of the undemocratic things they are constantly doing. Are they asking the media to ignore any negative aspects of their governance?

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