How Apartheid system colluded with ‘journalists, spies and bankers’

Published 08 June 2017, by Mphathi Nxumalo.

DURBAN – Apartheid’s legacy is still affecting South Africa and the local media, a discussion held on the sidelines of the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-Ifra) conference being held in Durban heard on Wednesday. The conference brings together journalists and media professionals from around the globe.

The discussion, hosted by the Press Club of South Africa focused around author Hennie van Vuuren’s book “Apartheid Guns and Money”, an exposé on the economic crimes of the apartheid regime.

Through the use of released secret documents, Van Vuuren details how the then government defended the system through the use of people like journalists, spies and bankers.

Van Vuuren and a small group of people worked on the book for five years. “It is a story about power,” he said.

Van Vuuren said a large amount of information on apartheid was available, even though the apartheid government had destroyed about 44 tons worth of documents. He said he was frustrated that South Africans were not telling more of these types of stories, including that media group Naspers had donated money to the National Party and was the “attack dog” of the National Party.

Dr Iqbal Surve, executive chairman of Sekunjalo, the owner of Independent Newspapers, said the book was well- researched and told the truth. “It is one of the seminal books in South African history.”

Surve said the dominant media groups in the country were completely embedded in the apartheid regime. The challenge lay in trying, to tell the truth while being faced by institutions that come from the apartheid era.

Surve said it should be noted that the apartheid regime stole R500 billion from South Africa, money that could have been used for the development of the country.

Investigative journalist Piet Rampedi said journalists were still contending with a culture of institutionalised racism in the newsroom.

“In the newsroom, you can see that black journalists are being discriminated against.The media has racialised crime and corruption… They presume black people are prone to corruption,” he said.

Rampedi said the media should acknowledge its apartheid past, as this would help the industry to improve.

Van Vuuren said the book was also a story about the private funding of political parties and how there is no law regulating this until today.

#WNC17: ‘The consumption of sports news has evolved’

Published 8 June, by Lee Rondganger

Durban – Building partnerships with major sporting brands and engaging communities using emerging and existing technologies were the key to influencing the future on how people consume sports news.

This was the major theme that emerged during a roundtable discussion on Sports News and Media Innovation at the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) conference held in Durban on Wednesday.

The roundtable panel included Nicolas Henchoz, the director of EPFL+ECAL Lab in Switzerland, Jermaine Craig, group executive for sport and motoring at Independent Media, Rolf Dyrnes Svendsen, chairman of the advisory board of the Global Allied Media Innovation, Cormac Bourke, editor of the Sunday Independent in Ireland and Professor Andrew Perkis of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology.

In a world where newspaper circulation was dropping and readers were increasingly going to social media for news, Henchoz said there were opportunities for traditional media to partner with sporting organisations such as the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to innovate and keep audiences whilst still generating revenue.

 For an example he said that YouTube’s income was ten times that of the IOC.

“This is really a huge challenge for international sporting organisations. Google and YouTube are just doing their job. Sporting organisations must work with the media together to influence the future… It is about us working together to innovate,” he said.

Read the full article here.

Transformation in media locally, globally ‘ too slow’

Published 7 June 2017, by Mphathi Nxumalo

THERE has been progress in women empowerment in the media but it is not enough. So said Tomas Brunegård, president of World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA). The organisation represents more than 18 000 publications around the world.

Brunegård said it was not good enough globally either. “These gender-related issues are there and they need to be addressed.” He said this at WAN-IFRA dinner that was held last night in Durban.

This comes as a conference that brings journalists and media professionals from around the world kicks off today (WED) and will run until Friday, June 9. During the conference media professionals will discuss challenges, facing the media landscape. It will also look at solutions that could be used to solve the problems the industry faces.

One of the people who is finding solutions to problems being faced in the industry is a philanthropist and Sekunjalo Executive Chairman Dr Iqbal Survé.

He said Independent Media had provided solutions with its #RACISMSTOPSWITHME campaign. But there were still challenges that lay ahead though. One of these challenges was to tell an African narrative in a media landscape that is dominated by companies that are relics from the apartheid era like Nasionale Pers (Naspers).

The media in the country also needed to be transformed. “Media transformation in South Africa is very slow except in the case of Independent Media,” Survé said.

He said he believed Independent Media was a lone star with its rapid pace of transformation. Ownership in other media houses was relatively the same as it was during apartheid with senior management, editorial patterns and narrative not reflecting the story of a new country, embracing its aspirations and diversity. It only reflects the media people who existed in the apartheid era.

“We shouldn’t be surprised because firstly the majority of our competitors were rooted during apartheid. It is a fact that Naspers was founded by the National Party and the Broederbond. Times Media Group had their editor working for the security police. The Caxton Group was funded by the apartheid government,” Survé said. These companies remained prominent until today without a change of ownership and mindset of the past. He said there were many journalists and editors who tried to make a difference but they were regrettably few and far between.

Read the full article here.