/ 22 June 2011

Chabane agrees to meet editors (Manyi to sit in)

Chabane Agrees To Meet Editors (manyi To Sit In)

Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane has agreed to meet the SA National Editors Forum this week to discuss the deteriorating relationship between the media and the government.

Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane, will meet the South African National Editors Forum at the Union Buildings this week to discuss the deteriorating relationship between the media and the government.

The meeting, requested by Sanef, would take place on Friday, the Presidency said on Wednesday.

Government spokesperson Jimmy Manyi, who has been cited by the editors’ forum as the cause of the tension, was set to attend the meeting. Sanef held a meeting with him and a Government Communication and Information Systems (GCIS) delegation on Wednesday last week to address the matter but the gathering “broke down very badly”.

Sanef then requested an urgent meeting with Chabane, Manyi’s boss, to discuss the deterioration of relations between government communications and themselves.

The request for the meeting 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 the 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.

Manyi was asked if there was conspiracy among editors against the 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 [e.news channel’s industry analysis show] 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.

“I was shocked to hear those kind of almost cartel-like tendencies. I thought [these were] 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 [spend government’s advertising budget] 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 these 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 your own fiction and then [expect] everybody [to] chase after this fiction.” — Sapa