Editors respond to criticism of Mbeki

Cape Town- South Africa (PANA) -- The South African National Editors Forum (SANEF) has called for a meeting with a group of leading black businessmen, which has accused the media of promoting a right-wing campaign against President Thabo Mbeki.
The group, which took out a full-page advertisement in the mass-circulation Sunday Times, accused the media of waging an apartheid-style disinformation campaign against Mbeki and many black business leaders.
The 11 authors of the statement said the campaign against Mbeki has been "so vicious, so underhand and so sustained" that even fair-minded, patriotic whites have started asking serious questions about the motives behind these attacks.
But SANEF Chairman Mathatha Tsedu said his organisation was not aware of any organised grouping within its membership, which was orchestrating a campaign against Mbeki.
"The language used, which brings together a myriad of political forces to share a common political goal of denigrating Mbeki and his government, as well as the black leadership generally, lends itself to a dismissive attitude," he said.
He said SANEF wanted an opportunity to discuss the matter with the signatories, or their representatives, as soon as possible.
Meanwhile, the ruling African National Congress has said a truly critical media does not oppose the government at every turn, but should rather be committed to informative and fair coverage.
ANC spokesman Smuts Ngonyama said one of the "essential features of a critical media is its ability to think, interrogate issues, weigh facts, reflect on various perspectives and present them in a manner that acknowledges its own inherent prejudices and predisposition.
" He charged that "too often, the media in South Africa mistakes criticism with being critical.
" The ANC called for higher standards of professionalism in the country's media industry.

08 may 2001 09:19:00

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