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