Cape Town - The Movement for Transformation in Media in SA (MTMSA) has called for a probe into the transformation of Times Media Group (TMG).
“We have seen a concerted effort by the largely white-owned and run media houses, in this case specifically the TMG, to discredit black business and political leaders in SA while at the same time ignoring the shortcomings of their white compatriots,” MTMSA wrote in a letter to the Public Investment Corporation (PIC), which manages the government employees’ pension fund.
Convener Wesley Douglas accused TMG publications of racially biased, skewed and negative reporting.
In December, the MTMSA gatecrashed a protest by the Right2Know Campaign against the removal of Alide Dasnois as Cape Times editor.
Independent Newspapers boss Dr Iqbal Survé has also accused rival TMG of a “dirty tricks” campaign to rob his group of revenue and readers.
Survé has denied that Dasnois had been fired, saying she had been offered alternative positions in the company.
Dasnois, however, has said she was offered a demotion and has taken the matter to the CCMA.
In his letter to the PIC, Douglas said: “We have heard that TMG has established a slush fund to operate a ‘dirty tricks department’ with the express purpose of targeting its rival media operator, Independent Media SA, and its owner Dr Iqbal Survé.”
He said as the PIC invested taxpayers’ money in TMG, this money was supporting publications “that clearly present SA as a failed state and that do not uphold the constitutional principles of equality and non-racialism in their business practices”.
The government spent over R600 million in advertising in TMG publications.
The PIC also held 25 percent equity in Independent Media.
Douglas wrote: “We demand the transformation of the TMG so that more black editors, sub-editors, journalists and management staff of colour are appointed to represent the thinking of the black majority… rather than the empowered, racially advantaged few.”
Douglas claimed that TMG and other media houses were working to discredit the ANC in the run-up to the general elections.
The MTMSA therefore called on the PIC to investigate whether there were disparities between the salaries earned by TMG journalists of different races.
TMG could not be reached for comment. – Sapa