INDEPENDENT MEDIA LAUNCHES OMBUDSMAN OFFICE

PRESS RELEASE

Independent Media today launched its internal Office of the Ombudsman along with a fully constituted adjudication and appeals panel in Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and Cape Town.

The formal launch of the Office of the Ombudsman follows the adoption of Independent Media’s Press Code, which took place after months of robust engagement and development.

Speaking at the launch, Dr Iqbal Survé, Executive Chairman of Independent Media, said the group remains totally committed to the self-regulation of the media and is vehemently opposed to any state regulation of the media.

“We are completely and utterly opposed to a media tribunal in South Africa.  We will not support the involvement of the state in the media. Our need for freedom is important and this must be cherished. Our withdrawal from the Press Council and the appointed of our internal Press Ombud should not be construed as support for a tribunal. It is unnecessary and undemocratic and goes against our Constitution”, said Dr Survé.

He said that the media can regulate itself provided it has the correct calibre of people which we can be seen from the constitution of Independent Media’s Press Ombud Office and Adjudication and Appeals panels.

The Adjudication Panels will be chaired by Independent Media’s Group Ombudsman Jovial Rantao, who was appointed into this position in October last year.  Rantao is one of the most experienced editors in South Africa. He is the chairperson of The African Editors Forum and the Southern African Editors Forum.  The Appeals Panel will be chaired by retired Constitutional Court Judge, Zak Yacoob, a respected jurist, human rights lawyer and judge recognised all over the world for his legal acumen and experience.

Rantao said the publication of the Code was an important moment in the history of Independent Media, one of the major pillars of media in South Africa. “This is the editorial bible for all our journalists and is our pledge to our readers and the general public, to uphold the highest standards of journalism. We will hold editors and journalists in all our titles accountable on behalf of the public. We will act without fear or favour,” Rantao said.

Independent Media’s Press Code was developed after engagement with the Press Council on various matters and, in particular, the reintroduction of the waiver clause, ended in an impasse. The removal of the waiver by the Press Council had the unintended consequences of involving Independent Media and other media houses in potential excessively costly litigation. The Independent Media Press Code addresses this anomaly.

Rantao highlighted three major differences between Independent Media’s Press Code and that followed by the Press Council:

  • No complaint shall be accepted unless the complainant or the person affected by the publication has waived his or her rights to institute an action or application in any court or any other tribunal.  The waiver shall be unequivocal and in accordance with a prescribed form that the complainant would be required to fill in;
  • any person other than a natural person, a registered non-profit organisation or a Public Benefit Organisation, shall pay a refundable deposit of R5 000 before the complaint will be considered. The deposit will only become payable if no settlement is reached.  If the complaint is upheld substantially, the deposit will be refunded to the complainant; and
  • the complaint will be referred to the regional editor who will attempt to broker a solution or settlement within 14 days. The regional editor will only entertain the complaint if the complainant has submitted full particulars as well as a copy of the offending article; identified reasons for the complaints; identified which rights have been breached and what, if any, harm has been suffered as a consequence of the publication. If there is no settlement, the regional editor would then advise the complainant to approach the Independent Press Ombudsman and outline the procedure to be followed. The Independent Media Press Ombudsman will decide if a ruling can be passed based on the documents submitted by the complainant and the editor or whether a hearing should be held.

 

Following a nationwide public call for participation, Independent Media also announced the members of its Adjudication and Appeals panels.

 

ADJUDICATION PANEL

CHAIRPERSON: JOVIAL RANTAO

REGIONMEDIA REPRESENTATIVEPUBLIC REPRESENTATIVE
KZNBrijlall Ramguthee

 

Michael Celumusa Buthelezi

 

GAUTENGProf. William GumedeAdvocate Nthabiseng Mokoena
WESTERN CAPERyland FisherPaul Gregory Esselaar

 

APPEALS PANEL

CHAIRPERSON: JUDGE Z. YACOOB

REGIONMEDIA REPRESENTATIVEPUBLIC REPRESENTATIVE
KZNDennis Pather

 

Fortunate Ngcongo
GAUTENGRich Mkhondo

 

Lloyd Mogotsi

 

WESTERN CAPEMansoor JafferRonald Bernickow

Dr Survé encouraged the millions of South Africans who read Independent’s titles to make use of the Office of the Independent Media Press Ombud for resolution of their concerns.

To view the Press Code go to http://www.iol.co.za/press-code

Complaints can also be directed to: complaints@inl.co.za

NEW EDITORIAL APPOINTMENTS ALIGNED WITH TRANSFORMATION OBJECTIVES OF INDEPENDENT MEDIA

 

PRESS RELEASE

Independent Media is proud to announce two new editorial appointments as part of its ongoing revitalisation and transformation of its newsrooms.

Veteran journalist Steve Motale, 52, has returned to Independent Media, to take over the editorship of The Sunday Independent. Motale is a former executive editor of the Pretoria News, which is part of the Independent Media stable. Motale left Independent just prior to Sekunjalo’s acquisition of Independent Media was consolidated, as he was headhunted by The Citizen to become its editor. He went on to edit The Citizen for three years.

Executive Chairman of Independent Media, Dr Iqbal Survé said that Motale has come back home to Independent.

“His appointment is aligned with our approach to transformation at senior editorial and executive level and supports our objective of pursuing black excellence in the media space. Mr Motale brings great diversity to our Gauteng publications where our readers can find contested views and opinions in our various titles including The Star, Sunday Independent, Saturday Star, Pretoria News and Isolezwe (Gauteng), as well as African Independent.

We are proud that our group emphasises a diversity of opinions, accuracy in reporting and fairness and has taken a non-partisan approach to political issues in the country. Independent’s titles as a whole are showing an increase in circulation and this can be attributed to readers increasingly trusting our balanced and diversified editorial viewpoints. Mr Motale’s appointment strengthens that diversity in our editorial appointments with our 24 titles and over 10 million daily readers online and in print.

I am pleased to welcome Steve back home.  I have every confidence in his ability to grow Sunday Independent’s niche readership base – both in print and online.  I wish him success with this exciting new challenge.”

Born and bred in the Free State, Motale matriculated in Kroonstad and qualified as a high school teacher, spending 16 years in the classroom before moving to journalism on a local community paper in Klerksdorp. Over and above qualifications in teaching and communication, Motale is a graduate of Wits University’s Management Advancement Programme. He is married with two children.

“It feels like a homecoming,” he said, “I’m very excited about the opportunity. The Sunday Independent is an iconic brand with huge potential and I look forward to taking it to where it belongs.”

Krisendra “Krissy” Bissety, has been promoted to the position of Editor of Post, Independent Media’s niche weekly publication for the Indian community in Kwazulu-Natal.

Bissety is a seasoned journalist who has spent 15 years in various roles at Independent titles, most recently as acting editor of the Post since November 2016.  In this position, Bissety is helping to steer the 62-year-old title into a national publication, circulating in KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng and the Western Cape.

“I am greatly honoured to be given this opportunity to enhance the Post’s status as South Africa’s number one news brand around the Indian cultural identity. We want to showcase the successes of this community, cover its trials and tribulations, help preserve its heritage and culture and build bridges with other communities,” said Bissety.

He added that he is fully committed to executive chairman Dr Iqbal Survé’s vision, and Independent’s mission, to lead the new media revolution.

“Steve and Krissy are both respected journalists who work with integrity and flair.  I have no doubt that their contribution to the quality of their publications will enhance the experience of both its readers and advertisers. I wish them and their respective teams every success,” said Dr Survé. 

Children in South Africa part of the decision Blind Child Rights Hero honoured by millions of children for his work

Today it was revealed that Manuel Rodrigues, a blind child rights activist from Guinea-Bissau, has been selected to receive the child rights award, The World’s Children’s Prize (WCP), often called the ‘Children’s Nobel Prize’ by the global media. This is the result of the Global Vote, by millions of children around the world. Manuel was honoured in recognition of his work for children with disabilities, who face being kept hidden or abandoned to die.

Since the launch in 2000, a total of 40,6 million children have participated in the World’s Children’s Prize programme, the world’s largest annual educational initiative for children on rights and democracy.

Two other child rights activists, 90-year-old Rosi Gollmann, from Germany, and Molly Melching, from the USA and Senegal, are also being honoured today. Rosi Gollman’s work includes rescuing tens of thousands of girls in India from being killed at birth, and Molly Melching has led pioneering initiatives to tackle female genital cutting and child marriage in West Africa. Both receive the World’s Children’s Honorary Award.

Previous prize laureates include the children’s Decade Child Rights Heroes Graça Machel and Nelson Mandela, Ann Skelton, Hector Pieterson and Nkosi Johnson (the latter two, posthumously).

 Today, Åsa Regnér, Sweden’s Minister for Children, became a new patron. Others who have shown their support for the WCP by becoming patrons include the late Nelson Mandela, Malala Yousafzai, Desmond Tutu, H.M. Queen Silvia of Sweden, and Swedish Prime Minister, Stefan Löfven.

In Guinea-Bissau, it is hard for children with disabilities to go to school. Many have been kept hidden away, or abandoned to die. Through Manuel’s work, however, both attitudes and legislation are changing rapidly, so that children with different abilities can grow up in safety, attend school, and have a good life.

Manuel was one of the three nominees for the award, nominated by a child jury whose members are experts on the rights of the child, through their own life experiences as refugees, slaves and soldiers, amongst others.

Prize laureates honoured in Sweden

All three nominees for the award were honoured at a ceremony today at Gripsholm Castle, in Mariefred, Sweden, where children from 15 countries were assisted by H.M. Queen Silvia of Sweden in presenting the prizes. The prize money, totalling SEK 700,000, is split between this year’s child rights hero (SEK 350,000) and the two honorary award laureates (SEK 175,000 each) and is to go towards the prize laureates’ work with children.

Abatsha, a young band from Cape Town, South Africa, played at the WCP Ceremony. Five of the band members are pupils at Chris Hani Secondary School in Khayelitsha, where the World’s Children’s Prize programme is implemented annually, and where the band members and other pupils are trained as WCP Child Rights Ambassadors. Band members are: Simbongile Sam, Zintle Kati, Aerin Van den Bergh, Deaviah Moodley, Vuyisani Mkwambi, Athenkosi Halu, Bonga Hatana and Clayton Seas.

 More info and press photos at worldschildrensprize.org/media

 Empowering vulnerable children

The majority of the millions of children who participate in the programme live in countries affected by poverty and conflict, such as the Democratic Republic of Congo, Pakistan and Zimbabwe. Through the WCP programme, they have learned that they have rights and have been able to make their voices heard, many for the first time.

The WCP is supported by almost 70,000 schools in 115 countries, and by over 750 organisations, institutions and departments of education. Since the launch of the programme, half a million teachers have been trained to teach their pupils about children’s rights and democracy in their schools.

Global legends as patrons

Many public figures have shown their support for the WCP by becoming patrons, including the late Nelson Mandela, Malala Yousafzai, Desmond Tutu, H.M. Queen Silvia of Sweden, and Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven. Today, the Swedish Minister for Children, Åsa Regnér, became a new patron. South African patrons also include the late Ahmed Kathrada, Dr Iqbal Survé and the singer, Vusi ‘The Voice’ Mahlasela.

We are behind the World’s Children’s Prize
The World’s Children’s Prize Foundation (WCPF) is supported by donors including the Swedish Postcode Lottery, Sida (the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency), Forum Syd, Julia & Hans Rausing Trust, Care about the Children (H.M. Queen Silvia’s foundation) and the Survé Family Foundation (part of Survé Philanthropies).

Contact in South Africa

Marlene Winberg: marlene.winberg@worldschildrensprize.org Tel. 083 392 5153

Contact in Sweden
Carmilla Floyd: carmilla.floyd@worldschildrensprize.org Tel. +46-709-507407

Magnus Bergmar: magnus.bergmar@worldschildrensprize.org Tel. +46-705-155839

 

More information and press images at worldschildrensprize.org/media-room

ANNOUNCEMENT: SENIOR APPOINTMENT AT INDEPENDENT MEDIA

PRESS RELEASE

The Executive Chairman of Sekunjalo Investment Holdings and Independent Media, Dr Iqbal Survé, is pleased to announce the appointment of Howard Plaatjes as Chief Operations Officer (COO) for Independent Media.

 

Plaatjes, who currently holds the position of Group Executive: Trading Performance and Operations, joined Independent Media in August 2013.  During this time, he was responsible for overseeing the alignment of the company’s printing, distribution and circulation operations with a focus on optimizing efficiencies and cost saving.  Plaatjes was also responsible for establishing and monitoring performance reporting systems and participated in the development and co-ordination of operating budgets and strategic plans.

 

“In the evolving media environment, Howard’s penchant for risk assessment and building turnaround strategies is going to be critical to ensure that Independent Media achieves its growth strategy.  I have every confidence in Howard and wish him success with his new portfolio,” said Dr Survé.

 

Commenting on his promotion, Plaatjes said that he was inspired and encouraged by the entrepreneurial approach and strategy of Independent Media.  “I look forward to working with the experienced team members as well as the energy of the many talented young people who have joined our organization over the past 18 months.  Together we will work towards transforming Independent Media into the leading content provider on the Continent,” said Plaatjes.

 

Recently, Plaatjes was at the helm of Independent Media’s redesign process and the implementation of the company’s new business strategy which started in mid-2016. This process has culminated in the expansion of Independent Media’s operations to include specialized content business units for lifestyle, sports, business and politics.

 

Plaatjes has been a senior transformation and business performance turnaround specialist for over 25 years with experience in several sectors including telecommunication, retail, financial services, media, FMCG, online and oil and gas.

Ends.

ANNOUNCEMENT: SENIOR APPOINTMENT AT SEKUNJALO INVESTMENT HOLDINGS

PRESS RELEASE

The Executive Chairman of The Sekunjalo Investment Group,  Dr Iqbal Survé, is pleased to announce the appointment of Zenariah Barends as Senior Executive for the Group.

Barends’ association with The Sekunjalo Group goes back to 1998 when she was a member of the team responsible for the listing of the fledgling BEE investment company on the JSE.  At Sekunjalo, Barends held various senior positions, working closely with the office of the CEO and Executive Chairman, Dr Iqbal Survé.

In her new position as Senior Executive for the holding company, Barends’ expanded portfolio will include management responsibility for legal services, communication and media liaison, multi-lateral engagement, international relations, talent development, academic engagement and transformation.

Commenting on Barends’ appointment, Dr Survé said, “I am pleased to be making this announcement about Zenariah’s new position. I have known her for two decades, since she joined the Sekunjalo Group as a young woman, fresh out of heading an Investigative Unit at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). She has consistently demonstrated her capacity to learn, lead and rise to new challenges. Her appointment at the holding company is a logical step as we strengthen the leadership and management capacity at Sekunjalo”.

Barends expressed her delight, “I started at Sekunjalo at 1998, when we had very little, using doors as tables and sharing chairs. To be part of the history of a company which is purpose-driven, committed to transformation and excellence makes me so proud. In my new position, I want to continue to contribute to the growth and development of Sekunjalo and it’s people.”

Barends retains her position as Chief of Staff of Independent Media.  She is also a board member of JSE-listed AEEI (Pty) Ltd, where she chairs the Transformation Committee. In addition, she serves in various capacities in Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) including as Chairperson of the Board of Trustees of Inyathelo: The South African Institute for Advancement and the Delft Big Band. Zenariah has a strong passion for the development of the arts and was a founder member of the Cape Cultural Collective.

Historically, Zenariah has a varied career journey, with history in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), an institute set up to investigate human rights abuses during Apartheid, where she headed up the Western Cape Investigative Unit. Zenariah also has an education background, as a researcher at the University of the Western Cape (UWC) Education Policy Unit (EPU) where she conducted research into post-apartheid higher education policy. Prior to that, she was a Sociology lecturer at UWC.

Ends.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dr Iqbal Surve’, newly appointed chairman of the BRICS Business Council in South Africa

PRESS RELEASE
The SA BRICS Business Council arrived in New Delhi yesterday to attend the mid-term meeting of BRICS with their international counterparts.

BRICS is an association of five emerging economies; Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.  

Half of the world’s population, almost four billion people live in the five countries. Collectively. BRICS has a GDP of about $37 trillion.

Newly-appointed Chairman of the South African chapter of the BRICS Business Council, Dr Iqbal Surve’ says the mid-term meeting is an important event in the run-up to the BRICS Summit that will be  hosted by China, in the city of Xiamen in September. The summit will be hosted in SAS next year.

Dr Surve, the executive chairman of Sekunjalo, says that he intends to strengthen the multilateral relationships of SA business community with the BRICS countries to the mutual benefit for each country.

The BRICS Business Council ensures on-going interaction between the business communities and  governments of countries in BRICS,  identifying  problems,  bottlenecks  and solutions to facilitate trade and foster investment relationships.

BRICS Business Council members are appointed by the SA government. Commenting on his appointment as Chairman, Dr Surve said ‘that the BRICS Business Council members are first and foremost ambassadors for the country.  “We are there to ensure that all South Africans benefit as the global economy moves rapidly towards the east and south,” he said.

In the age of Trump protectionism and Brexit we have to strengthen our ties with business in the East especially China and India whose economies are expected to be number one and number three in the world by 2030, with a GDP of $35 trillion and $16 trillion respectively.

Dr Surve′ is a founding member of the BRICS Business Council and says that he will build on the work done by his predecessors, Patrice Motsepe and most recently,  Brian Molefe.

The SA BRICS Business Council members accompanying Dr Surve include Siyabonga Gama (Transnet CEO) , Danisa Baloyi ( Black Business Council President) who are new appointments and , Khanyisile Kweyama ( Business Unity South Africa)  and Stavros Nicolaou (Aspen Pharmacare ) retain their positions  as members of the Council. The Business Council will work closely with ministers in various clusters and business sectors including Finance, DTI, DIRCO, Science and Technology, Education.

Dr Surve′ said: “It is indeed an honour to lead the  South African BRICS Business Council and to represent my country and in addition, I will work with some of the best business leaders in the country and in the various BRICS business councils. It is also an opportunity to enable our country to achieve the goals of inclusive growth and economic transformation.

I am passionate about job creation, education, skills development  and technology and I hope that in this new role I will be able to ensure that BRICS  benefits the most marginalised South Africans and Africans,” Dr Surve’ said.  

The upcoming BRICS Business Council mid-term meeting will be taking stock of progress in deregulation, manufacturing, infrastructure, agri-business, skills development, financial services and energy and the green economy, and prepare for the September summit.

The meeting will end with a seminar on financing sustainable development.  

Dr Surve′ said the Business Council has a huge role to play in economic development on all fronts.

“It is an interesting development that China is flying the flag for globalisation at a time when the United States President Donald Trump is taking a more protectionist stance.This opens up many opportunities, not only for South Africa, but for the continent.

“As South Africans we have to make sure that we remain relevant in the global economic order and that we have access to the global market, and access to capital,” he said.

He added that what is of utmost importance is to ensure that Africans benefit from the New Development Bank (NDB). The bank was established by BRICS to support public or private projects, by supplying loans, guarantees and equity participation.

“The bank must not just benefit countries in Asia, we want them to build dams, roads, power stations and railway lines in Africa,” Dr Surve′ said.

BRICS brings many opportunities to South Africa, as the country needs more foreign direct investment.

“South Africa spends more than 40 percent ( R153 billion) of the budget servicing debt and if we don’t have foreign direct investment it will lead to greater unemployment and social instability. That is why the Business Council is crucial. It is there to ensure as a country, we can channel FDI from the rest of the world, but mostly from Brazil, Russian, India and China,” said Dr Surve′.

“It is noteworthy that all five countries have different ideals, economic policies and politics, yet we know for economic growth we have to work together, to ensure our people benefit economically. Included in the benefits must be skilling and reskilling, in preparation for the fourth industrial revolution, where biological, physical and digital worlds meld”.

Dr Surve′ said that BRICS must represent a win-win for all its members.

 

 

 

Sekunjalo sues TMG for defamation

PRESS RELEASE

Sekunjalo sues TMG for defamation

Sekunjalo Investment Group, which owns Independent Media, today announced that they have instructed their attorneys Webber Wentzel   to institute legal proceedings against Times Media Group (TMG) following its publication of  a defamatory article,  “Breaking the News”, authored by Ann Crotty. Sekunjalo will shortly announce similar instructions against other media outlets that have republished the offending article.

Sekunjalo Group applauds the decision announced last week by Independent Media and the African News Agency (ANA) who announced that they will sue TMG for R200m and R500m respectively.  Sekunjalo’s damages claim will be for R500m and this brings the total damages claim against TMG to R1,2 billion.

Sekunjalo Group portfolio comprises investments in more than 200 companies across the African continent, Switzerland, USA and China, including shareholdings and partnerships with 9 multinational companies operating in Africa. The group has significant investments in South Africa with major listed and private companies, all of whom directly and indirectly employ in excess of 115 000 people.

“The Sekunjalo Group considers the Crotty article an insult made with a colonial and apartheid era mentality. The suggestion that Independent Media which constitutes less than 2% of Sekunjalo’s investment portfolio, is being asset-stripped is both laughable and bizarre. It speaks to the moral bankruptcy of the individuals who write such slander.

These same individuals either remain silent or they applaud Independent’s competitors when they restructure their businesses for whatever reasons, but when a black controlled company like Sekunjalo does it they call it “asset-stripping”.

Sekunjalo has in its 20 year history won many awards and has been a stellar example of good corporate governance and sound business practices and values. We take the highly defamatory accusation of asset-stripping very seriously. It is an insult to our ethical business practices and our adherence to good corporate governance which are integral to all our businesses – both in South Africa and globally,” said Executive Chairman of Sekunjalo investment Group, Dr Iqbal Survé.

Far from asset-stripping, Dr Survé said that since acquiring Independent Media, Sekunjalo has invested in excess of R200m in the business to assist the company’s evolution from essentially a print media to a multi-platform media company.  Backed by Independent Media’s board of directors and shareholders, Sekunjalo’s investments were directed at funding, amongst others, new technology, IT infrastructure and the up-skilling and training of journalists. The move was in line with the company’s strategy to transition to a digitally-driven company while optimizing efficiencies throughout the organization. Sekunjalo intends to invest a further R500 million in the next 3 years. Dr Survé is confident of an award of significant damages for the defamatory statements made by Ann Crotty, which he said  “is fitting for a novel of fiction”. He would like to see such award being used for the further education and training of journalists.

Dr Survé added that since the acquisition of Independent Media in 2013, there has been a deliberate campaign of bullying, lies, distortion and disinformation against himself, Independent Media and Sekunjalo.  This seems to have the hallmarks of a sinister and deliberate strategy by our competitors and detractors. The racism is evident in this campaign.

“Clearly this campaign is designed to undermine our investment, our business credibility and our transformation agenda, but it also highlights the lengths to which our competitors will go to hold on to the traditionally white-dominated media which benefitted royally from apartheid,” he said.

“It is normal practice for any dynamic company to constantly review its business strategy and add value for its shareholders.  All companies and especially media companies the world over do this especially in today’s rapidly changing media environment. We have witnessed our competitors restructure their businesses without any comment from our detractors. This whole situation is vindictive and defamatory and we have to draw the line,” said Dr Survé.

Sekunjalo further believes that the legal action that it will institute against TMG as well as the pending legal action against other individuals and media outlets  is a sign of its support for small black owned publishers who have been trampled on by the big media conglomerates and who remain prejudiced by the monopolization of media in SA.

“We will not be intimidated and therefore we have no hesitation in holding them to account as companies, groups and in their personal capacities in our courts and in the courts abroad.   This fight is not only our fight; it is a fight on behalf of small, black owned publishers who have been bullied by the media monopolies and there surrogates,” said Dr Survé.

Most importantly this fight is about the control and transformation of the media and ultimately about the economy of this country. The time is now” said Dr Survé.

 

ENDS

 

 

 

 

Independent Media to sue Times Media Group for R300 million

PRESS RELEASE

Independent Media has instructed its legal team to institute proceedings against Times Media Group (TMG) following their refusal to retract a defamatory article, written by Ann Crotty, which was published in Financial Mail and Business Live on 23 February 2017.

Several untrue and defamatory statements were contained in the article, “Breaking the News, including allegations, innuendo and questions regarding Independent Media’s current financial standing and its ability to repay loans.

A significant portion of the article claims that Independent Media entered into deals with and sold profitable assets to an entity called Africa Media Group to the disadvantage and detriment of its shareholders.  Independent Media has no knowledge of the existence of this entity.

It is clear that the intention of the article was to spread fake news about Independent Media, portray a picture of underhandedness and to create suspicion and discomfort amongst shareholders, readers and advertisers.  The article also suggests that Independent Media has diminished in stature and would enter into deals without there being a sound business rationale.

Independent Media has questioned the integrity and journalistic ethics of the writer and the motive of those publishing entities of Times Media Group which published the article.

Since the acquisition of Independent Media in 2013, Sekunjalo Group has invested in excess of R200m in technological and digital advancements as well as skills training and development for journalists as part of its strategy to migrate the Independent Media brand from a largely print media to a multi-platform media group. This investment came with the full approval and support of the existing shareholders who will benefit from the increased value created as a result of Sekunjalo’s additional financial injection into Independent Media since the acquisition.

Commenting on the matter, Chief of Staff of Independent Media, Zenariah Barends said: “I have been at Independent since February 2014.  Prior to me joining the company and since, there has been a barrage of attacks against us, including personal attacks on Dr Survé, by the same groups and individuals. I have to wonder at the reasons for the consistent negative reporting about our company these past three years. It is certainly not normal. I would like to put it down to a case of sour grapes, as a number of our detractors were former employees at Independent Media.  But the frequency and volume of negativity and malice, suggests something more sinister.”

She added that the company will be instituting the necessary steps to sue the parties mentioned.  “We want to get on with our business and build a media house where South Africans who are interested in developing our democracy know they have a trusted source of information.”

 

ENDS

SEKUNJALO INVESTMENT YIELDS RESULTS FOR INDEPENDENT MEDIA

Media Release

The Sekunjalo Group congratulated Independent Media on its nomination as a finalist in three categories at this year’s International News Media Association’s (INMA) Global Media Awards.  The Awards take place at the conclusion of the 87th annual INMA conference in New York in May.

Since Sekunjalo’s acquisition of Independent Media in 2013, Independent Media has been the only African media company to be nominated for INMA’s Global Media Awards for three consecutive years. The INMA Global Media Awards competition this year received 655 entries from 196 media companies in 36 countries. Participants include newspaper media, magazine media, digital media, television media, and radio media.

Prior to the acquisition of Independent Media by the Sekunjalo-led consortium in 2013, the company lacked significant infrastructure in order to compete in the rapidly evolving media environment.  Over the past two years, Sekunjalo invested significantly in technology, innovation and skills training and development, integral to the redesign of the company.

“These nominations and the ongoing recognition by the international media community are direct consequences of the significant investment that Sekunjalo has made in Independent Media over the past two years”, said Dr Survé.

Independent Media was nominated as a finalist in three key categories.

Independent Media’s HOME Property magazine in Kwa-Zulu Natal, was nominated in the category Best Launch of a Brand or Product to Create an Audience Segment in the Local/Regional category.

“This nomination is particularly significant because it emphasises the success of our commercial strategy in Kwa-Zulu Natal.  Amidst considerable investment by our competitors to undermine our home and property leadership in the region, we have emerged successful with this great new value-added product for both our clients and readers”, said Dr Survé.

Independent Media’s national campaign to highlight awareness about racism, Racism Stops With Me, was nominated in the category Best Public Relations or Community Service Campaign in the Global/National category.

 

This campaign was launched in January 2016 when Dr Survé, as Executive Chairman of Independent Media, recognised the need for the media to play a constructive role in highlighting South Africa’s most pressing and burning issues and allowing for healthy debate across all sectors.  He called on all Independent Media stakeholders – readers, commercial partners, advertisers, investors, staff, and society in general – to work together to confront the reality of racism in our society. International media houses have expressed keen interest in collaborating with Independent Media on similar campaigns, acknowledging that racism is an international concern.

The #DontLookAway campaign, a national campaign which ran during the 16 days of activism in support of no violence against women and children was nominated in the category Best Use of Video in the Global/National category.  This campaign formed part of Independent Media’s Media for Social Change programme to mobilise readers and advertisers to become aware of the scourge of violence against women and children.

“We are unashamedly non-racist, non-sexist and purpose-driven.  By publicising the horrific statistics related to women and child abuse we are playing our part in drawing attention to gender violence in our country”, said Dr Survé.

Competition entries were judged in February by an international panel of 44 executives from 17 countries. Judges represented a wide range of media-related companies.

INMA has run an annual competition rewarding excellence in media since 1937. This year’s Global Media Awards competition focused on six activities crucial to success:

  • Energising brands.
  • Creating new products.
  • Growing, engaging, and monetising audiences.
  • Growing advertising revenue.
  • Developing customer insights.
  • Instilling innovation.

 

African News Agency to sue Times Media Group for R500 million

Press Release

On instructions of African News Agency (ANA), our attorneys, Webber Wentzel, sent letters of demand  to Times Media Group, Ann Crotty, Ray Hartley, Business Day and Business Live on  8th of March 2017 demanding that they retract defamatory statements made about ANA in an article, “Breaking the News” published on 23 February 2017. They were given three days to retract the defamatory article but have instead released a further statement repeating the original defamatory article.

Ann Crotty and Times Media Group’s Financial Mail have in their most recent statement  misinformed the public by stating that they had contacted ANA. We wish to make it clear that at no stage has any reporter from Financial Mail, Business Day or Business Live contacted ANA, its Chief Executive or President regarding the claims made in their article. Furthermore, no other ANA staff member was contacted by the Financial Mail or Ann Crotty regarding the claims published in their original  article. In this regard Ann Crotty, the Financial Mail and Business Live chose to ignore ethical journalistic practice by neglecting to verify the validity of any of their claims.

ANA is a global content syndication service provider with video, text and pictures using world class technology which has attracted international investors both for its content syndication service and its soon-to-be-launched social media platforms. These investors are partners and committed to ANA’s growth strategy within South Africa and the rest of the world. ANA further plans to extend its footprint into various other locations including Boston, New York, San Francisco, London, Paris and Mumbai.

The defamatory article published by Ann Crotty and the Financial Mail has resulted in significant reputational damage to ANA, its international investors and partners, including its 40-plus media partners globally. Should Ann Crotty, the Financial Mail, Business Live, Business Day or any other reporter of Times Media Group have contacted ANA, we would gladly have provided them with the correct information.

ANA has set aside a substantial sum to litigate against Times Media Group and Tiso Blackstar, to claim an amount of R500 million in damages suffered.

To date, ANA has raised more than R2 billion in the global capital market from our investors and has their full backing to pursue a full damages claim against Ann Crotty, Times Media Group, its publications and other executives for these defamatory statements. ANA also plans to hold Tiso Blackstar, listed on the AIM of the London Stock Exchange, to account for these defamatory statements. ANA strongly believes its claims will be successful against Times Media Group, its publications, Ann Crotty and others for the publication of numerous false defamatory statements.

Through the article published by Times Media Group and its publications, Ann Crotty has dragged ANA into the alleged ongoing smear campaign by several journalists, including former journalists of Independent Media against Independent Media, Sekunjalo and Dr Survé. Recent statistics and industry research show that Times Media Group is facing financial challenges and have lost significant market share to their rivals including Independent Media, Media24 and CTP. More importantly, their rivals, continue to outperform them in terms of circulation and technology innovation.

ANA is reluctant, but feels compelled to take legal action against Times Media Group in the South African and UK courts and, after having carefully considered the legal issues ANA is confident that it will be successful in holding them to account for publishing false and defamatory statements.

 

ENDS

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Issued by Grant Fredericks

Chief Executive Officer

African News Agency

 

email: grant.fredericks@africannewsagency.com