Expelled ANC Youth League President Julius Malema. Photo: Bongiwe Mchunu

Former ANC Youth League president Julius Malema spoke out against plans to boycott City Press in an open letter published in the weekly on Sunday.

“Of all the freedoms contained in the Bill of Rights, the right we should defend with our lives is the right to hold different opinions on how we view society and how we think certain matters should be handled,” he said.

SACP general secretary Blade Nzimande and ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe have called for a boycott of City Press after the paper refused to take down a portrait of President Jacob Zuma with his genitals exposed.

Said Malema: “Banning newspapers simply because we disagree with them, and boycotting them on the basis of believing that our conception of truth is absolute, poses a real threat to our democracy.”

Malema said that City Press had run articles vilifying him for more than six months. The paper had still not admitted to the “many mistakes” he said they had committed.

“So the views I am expressing here are not about (saving) City Press' face or rewarding them for anything positive they have done for me,” he said. - Sapa