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Attacks against Independent Media, Sekunjalo, and Dr Survé are Corporate Sabotage

Professor Anton Harber. Picture: Jennifer Bruce / ANA

Professor Anton Harber. Picture: Jennifer Bruce / ANA

Published Dec 13, 2021


Edmond Phiri

Opinion - On the 29th of November, Anton Harber, a Wits Journalism Professor, launched a vitriolic attack against Independent Media, and its Chairman, Dr Iqbal Survé.

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The Harber attacks are not new, but a continuation of long waged acts of terror against Survé and his companies. History reveals that Harber's attack has nothing to do with what he wrote. His primary aim is to inflict maximum reputational harm to Independent Media.

The carefully coordinated attacks launched using opposition media are nothing but corporate sabotage and "corporate terrorism".

While some may argue that it is not terrorism, the effect is the same, except that corporate space is the arena where the acts of terror are conducted.

The barrage of negative media reports against Survé and his group of companies is meant to destroy the business he holds interest in. Furthermore, it is meant to spook off customers, clients and investors and create a hostile environment for Dr Survé or his businesses to operate.

We saw some journalists even celebrate when they "successfully" blocked a huge multi billion rand deal of Sagarmatha. And the likes of Harber tweeting to advertisers, calling on them to stop advertising on Independent media.

Recently, reports revealed that banks closed down some of the banking facilities of businesses linked to Survé without reason. Would the banks have closed the banking facilities without the Daily Maverick-led storm of media attacks and smear against Survé? An emphatic no!

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Survé or his businesses have never been politically exposed or posed any reputational risk. For over 25 years, the businesses were built and run at the back of sheer entrepreneurship.

"Corporate terrorists" have made it their sole duty to aggressively attack the businesses, using soft tools such as the media, and social networking platforms. In their callousness, they care less about thousands of workers and their families who will lose their livelihoods if the businesses are shut down.

The past four years have seen a significant increase in the use of smear and disinformation campaigns to destroy businesses. Media platforms, NGOs, "experts and analysts" have become tools weaponised to destroy others. Harber is a case in point.

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A solution to this problem remains distant.

Even when the businesses or persons attacked get recourse, it becomes academic. Suppliers, investors, banks, customers, and everyone the business depends on would have long fled. Let alone the fact that the business may get shut down.

Attacks against corporates using disinformation campaigns and smear must be correctly characterised as "corporate sabotage", and "corporate terrorism". Corporate terrorists must be dealt with viciously, through the legal means available.

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The attacks against Indy, Sekunjalo, and Dr Survé are nothing but corporate sabotage.