Al­le­ga­tions against my jour­nal­ists un­proven, says ed­i­tor-in-chief

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - POLITICS -

IN­DE­PEN­DENT News­pa­pers Cape ed­i­tor-in-chief Chris Whit­field has re­sponded to an ar­ti­cle in the Mail & Guardian News­pa­per which in­cluded al­le­ga­tions that jour­nal­ists on his staff were paid to ma­nip­u­late news re­ports.

In a state­ment yes­ter­day, Whit­field noted that the al­le­ga­tions of im­pro­pri­ety by In­de­pen­dent News­pa­pers staff were sev­eral years old and had been in­ves­ti­gated pre­vi­ously.

“We have in­ves­ti­gated them our­selves and have found no ev­i­dence to sup­port them.

“No proof of the claims has ever been put for­ward de­spite our re­peated in­vi­ta­tions to those mak­ing the al­le­ga­tions. The in­vi­ta­tion stands and we would wel­come any cor­rob­o­ra­tion of th­ese al­le­ga­tions.

“Without this, how­ever, we re­gard the pub­li­ca­tion of such claims as most sur­pris­ing,” said Whit­field.

The Mail & Guardian story quotes a tape-recorded con­ver­sa­tion be­tween for­mer ANC premier Lynne Brown and for­mer Hip-Hop Me­dia share­holder Vuk­ile Pok­wana in which Pok­wana pur­port­edly states that “there is a pay­ment of jour­nal­ists”.

Pok­wana is quoted by the Mail & Guardian as also say­ing he did not ac­tu­ally see any money chang­ing hands.

Pok­wana yes­ter­day con- firmed he had had a meet­ing with Brown when she was premier of the West­ern Cape but had not au­tho­rised record­ing of their con­ver­sa­tion. He said he had not heard the tape re­ferred to by the Mail & Guardian.

He said he was wait­ing for Brown or the per­son com­mis­sioned to make the record­ing to send him a copy. He de­clined fur­ther com­ment.

Brown con­firmed she had met Pok­wana “a few weeks be­fore the elec­tions” and had au­tho­rised the record­ing. She said she had done this for her own se­cu­rity. Brown said there had been al­le­ga­tions for some time and she had been con­cerned at what ap­peared a “dom­i­nant streak” in the slant of me­dia re­ports. She had not dis­trib­uted the tape-record­ing.

Brown said Pok­wana’s claims were “un­cor­rob­o­rated”.

“It was one per­son’s voice,” she said. – Staff Re­porter

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