The statement below is Independent Media's response to claims by Western Cape Premier Helen Zille relating to a error in today's Cape Times.
An error in reporting by our Parliamentary journalist was made in an article that appeared in the Cape Times on Friday morning. The report had omitted three words in a quote that appeared in the article “Most murderers not white – Zille” (March 3, 2017).
The correspondent had realised the error after publication. As it would do in every other instance, the Cape Times had every intention of setting the record straight in Monday’s publication. Premier Zille, being a former journalist herself, knows that a journalist can make an honest mistake.
However, Independent Media is shocked by Premier Zille’s response to this error, which we regard as disproportionate. The premier’s approach to release a media statement to attack the Cape Times and Independent Media goes against the spirit of media freedom.
Independent Media rejects the claim by Premier Zille that the article was “deliberately” distorted and is part of a “smear campaign”. Had the Premier used her extensive media and communications team to contact the offices of the Cape Times, or used one of the many avenues available to her for recourse, the matter could have been resolved without the need for a hasty press statement alluding to a non-existent “smear campaign”.
Her press statement is deliberately designed to cast the Cape Times and Independent Media in a negative light that only exposes the Premier’s attempts to intimidate and bully the media.