City press to remove 'The Spear'

20040719143202_FERIAL City Press editor Ferial Haffajee will remove Brett Murray's controversial image, "The Spear", from the publication's website

City Press editor Ferial Haffajee will remove Brett Murray's controversial image, "The Spear", from the publication's website, she said today.

She confirmed to Sapa it would be removed.

"I just need a bit of time to do it," said Haffajee.

She would soon post a column about her decision on the website.

Earlier, she told Talk Radio 702 how her stance on publishing an image with President Jacob Zuma's genitals had shifted. She said the debate had become a clash, and the publication did not want to be part of that. It wanted to be part of restoring calm.

She was also concerned about the personal safety of the newspaper's vendors, and journalists, after ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe called for a boycott of City Press last week.

Haffajee said newspapers had been set alight over the weekend and a journalist evicted from a National Union of Mineworkers conference.

She had had the full support of her bosses and had discussed with them whether she should resign. At no time had there been any pressure on her to remove the image due to commercial interests.

Last week Zuma, the ANC and Zuma's children took City Press and the Goodman Gallery, which had exhibited the painting as part of Murray's exhibition "Hail the Thief II", to court to have the picture and image banned. Their approach was based on the right to dignity.

City Press and the gallery opposed the challenge on the grounds of freedom of expression.

Sapa


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