/ 24 June 2011

Chabane: No plans to use ‘ad spend’ to bully media

Chabane: No Plans To Use 'ad Spend' To Bully Media

There is no government policy to use advertising to quash editorial independence, Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane told the South African National Editors’ Forum (Sanef) on Friday.

Read the joint statement from the Ministry in the Presidency and Sanef

Chabane was speaking in Pretoria on Friday, at a meeting with the editors on the deteriorating relationship between the government and the media.

There was after an outcry earlier this month when government spokesperson Jimmy Manyi announced that the government intended procuring media space and airtime for national departments and would “monitor and enforce adherence to the government brand”.

Sanef said this meant newspapers would be bribed to become government propagandists or mouthpieces.

Manyi attended Friday’s meeting between the government and editors.

‘Cordial relations’
The talks went “a long way” to address the media’s relationship with Manyi, said Sanef spokesperson Mary Pappaya.

Both sides had agreed to “cordial relations” and “mutual respect”, she said.

Sanef’s request for the meeting followed a 702 Talk Radio interview in which Manyi accused it of showing “cartel-like tendencies”.

He said he could not understand why the media was so hostile to the government.

He also denied saying that the government’s media buying strategy meant that anti-government publications would not receive government advertising spend.

Pappaya described the spirit of the meeting as “very positive, cordial and professional”.

“We took the decision that we want to work together and we want to work together well in the interests of our democracy,” she said.

“There was a meeting of minds on both sides.”

Government communicators and the media had agreed to treat each other with respect and dignity and to continue engaging with each other on matters of concern. — Sapa