Johannesburg - Independent Media released a letter on Wednesday which it said not only proved the Mail & Guardian had tried to buy three of the group’s newspapers, but also that M&G chief executive Hoosain Karjieker lied on TV about this.
Independent group executive editor Karima Brown has contended throughout that the M&G’s “campaign of reporting negatively” about Independent has been driven by the M&G’s failed bid to buy the Pretoria News, The Mercury and the Cape Times.
Speaking to eNCA reporter Karyn Maughan during an interview for the Maggs on Media programme, Brown called it a “campaign to frighten our investors”.
Maughan put this allegation to Karjieker, who said on air: “We wrote to (Independent executive chairman Dr Iqbal Survé) and said we would be interested in partnering with him. We never submitted a bid.”
On Wednesday, Independent chief of staff Zenariah Barends released the letter, jointly signed by Karjieker and M&G owner Trevor Ncube.
“Shortly after the sale of Independent to the Sekunjalo consortium, Ncube and Karjieker signed and sent a letter to Dr Survé in which they state unequivocally: ‘We have pleasure in confirming our interest in acquiring various titles of the former Independent Newspaper Group.’ Yet Karjieker does not blink an eye in denying their interest on national TV. This is indicative of the mendacity and malice that informs the paper’s approach to journalism and the conduct of its business affairs.”
Barends said Independent was releasing the letter to “demonstrate the determined deceit we are drawing attention to”.