Sanef is to hold an urgent meeting to discuss a "deteriorating relationship" between itself and government communications head Jimmy Manyi.
The South African National Editors’ Forum (Sanef) will hold an urgent meeting on Tuesday to discuss what it sees as a “deteriorating relationship” between itself and the government communications head, Jimmy Manyi.
The meeting comes on the same day Manyi told Talk Radio 702 that Sanef chairperson Mondli Makhanya had shown “cartel-like tendencies” and that the media created “fictions”.
“We are not going to comment on what Jimmy said. Rather, what we are doing is we have called for an urgent discussion with our members. Based on that, we will certainly be pursuing a meeting with Mr Manyi’s superiors to highlight the deteriorating relationship between him and Sanef,” Sanef deputy chairperson Mary Papayya said.
A meeting between Manyi and Sanef last week ended without resolution and Tuesday’s meeting was meant to have been a follow-up.
“At this stage it is very concerning that the relationship has come to this juncture,” said Papayya, adding that the matter had to be resolved urgently.
Makhanya was not immediately available to comment.
In his interview, Manyi said he could not understand why the media were so “hostile” to the government.
Asked whether he thought there was a plot or conspiracy by the media against the government, he replied: “... Let me be factual. You go and listen to Maggs on Media, a clip that was played, you look at the closing comments of Mr Makhanya there. He says that ‘we as media we must stand together’... I’m paraphrasing him… ‘we must stand together to fight ... government on this and that’. That kind of a thing. Now let’s talk to the issue of media diversity.
“That it’s only a few groups of media people that think in a particular way and act in a particular way. We have no diversity in this thing. The representation of the cross-spectrum of society is not happening. This is what is causing this challenge. I think the solution to this is that we need to see a lot more media diversity so that we can introduce different points of perspective so that we don’t have this hostility.”
When host John Robbie commented that anybody could enter the media market, Manyi replied: “No John, let’s be serious, it’s takes only three phone calls to round up the whole of media.
“One person from [the] Avusa stable picks up the call, and calls Independent and calls Caxtons and calls ... eh whatsit other group ... that’s just three calls and it’s done, then the whole mainstream media are covered. The rest of the other guys, rats and mice in the beginning there, that’s what we need to build up to make sure that they become a formidable force, that’s what needs to happen.”
Asked 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 chairperson of Sanef ...”
Makhanya is also editor-in-chief of Avusa media newspapers.
“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 thought Makhanya was “a great guy”, but believed the views he was articulating are those of the industry.
“If he says, ‘Let’s work together,’ he must be saying something that is shared amongst his peers. This is the issue.”
Manyi believed Sanef was made up of “very decent people” but felt it was a pity that they made impulsive statements.
“What one would say ... is that before you go out making impulsive unthought-through [sic] statements, have a discussion first, understand what the other side is saying.”
He denied that the government’s strategy to centralise advertising planning and placement was intended to select only government-friendly media.
“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 guys what you do… [Robbie interjects: But why are you bracketing everybody together, I’m not you guys, I’m John Robbie?] ... no, no but you have got this media tendencies of creating your own fiction ... [media tendencies?] ... yes, creating your own fiction.
“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 your own fiction and then everybody must chase after this fiction.”—Sapa