By BO Staff Writer
The Black First Land First (BLF) movement has written a letter to the press ombudsman demanding that News24 be punished for its distortion of comments made by Professor Chris Malikane at its Blacks in Dialogue event.
After Blacks in Dialogue, Malikane was misquoted by a News24 report as having said that he would pick up arms for radical economic transformation.
As proven by video footage taken at the event, he never said anything about taking up arms, instead, he said that that was the decision of the Black “working class”. He confessed, “I hate war”, and told the crowd such transformation should be aquired using constitutional reforms.
The propaganda mill has been running haywire since Malikane got appointed as advisor to the minister of finance. The radical professor, who teaches at Wits University, has been called all sorts of names by those who disagree with radical economic transformation.
Read BLF’s full letter bellow:
The Press Ombudsman
Mr Joe Thloloe
1. Joe Thloloe, Director
2. Johan Retief, Ombudsman
Dear Mr Thloloe
COMPLAINT: MISREPRESENTATION AND DISTORTION IN NEW24 ARTICLE CONCERNING PROFESSOR CHRIS MALIKANE
On 29 April 2017, Professor Chris Malikane, the advisor to the Minister of Finance, Malusi Gigaba, addressed more than 300 people at the Blacks in Dialogue (BID) event organised by Black First Land First (BLF). Prof Malikane expanded on his already public views on radical economic transformation. It’s with great shock to see the white owned media blatantly lie about what Prof Malikane said at the event.
In his talk, Professor Malikane highlighted the need for a minimum program which would unite black people across the spectrum for return of the land and the economy to the black majority.
Following Professor Malikane’s presentation on Radical Economic Transformation and during the question and answer session the professor was criticised by one of the attendees for not being radical enough to the extent of calling for Black people to take up arms in order to get back the land. To this end he said that he was disappointed in Professor Malikane’s presentation. After making his hostile remarks he left the event but Professor Malikane nonetheless responded to the issues raised.
In his response, Professor Malikane was absolutely clear in rejecting violence or an armed uprising. To this end he pointed out that change must be driven by constitutional reforms. He went further to express his own personal dislike for war and that he preferred lobbying for a two thirds majority to change the constitution.
Subsequently a distortion of the comments made by Professor Malikane was published on 29 April 2017 in News24. (http://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/prepare-for-the-worst-says-gigabas-adviser-20170429). To this end the undermentioned paragraph of the article “‘Prepare for the worst’, says Gigaba’s adviser” is instructive:
“We need a two-thirds majority to change the Constitution. Otherwise, to achieve what we want to achieve, we need to go that route [take up arms]. Let’s try two-thirds. I don’t like war,” Malikane said.
The words in square brackets, namely “[take up arms]” were not uttered by Prof Malikane and were in fact written into the remarks of Prof Malikane by the author of the above article.
The News24 article thus conveyed the distorted message that Malikane said that in the event of not getting radical economic transformation via constitutional reform that the people would have to “take up arms”.
BLF wishes to state categorically that the comment about taking up arms cannot be justifiably associated with Prof Malikane. News24 did not report truthfuly and fairly relating to Professor Malikane in that it had misrepresented and distorted the facts as indicated above.
Moreover, in contextualizing Prof Malikane’s submissions, News24 ommited to report that Prof Malikane was responding to a question from the floor and had not at all mentioned anything about war in his initial input at the event on RET. If News24 reported the correct context then the distortion and misrepresentation would have been averted.
To this end the said misrepresentation and distortion falls short of the highest standards of conduct, regarding the credibility and trustworthiness, that is required of journalism.
The omission of the correct context accordingly constitutes an offence in terms of his code.
The Press Ombudsman is called upon to consider and make the necessary determination, including imposing a penalty on News24 that will as a very strong deterrent to it and others engaging in similar acts of misconduct in the future.
As the BLF was hosting Professor Malikane via the BID at the relevant time, our organisation has been directly affected by the aspects in the related article that constitute the subject matter of the complaint herein.
SUBMITTED ON BEHALF OF THE BLACK FIRST LAND FIRST MOVEMENT
BY ITS PRESIDENT, ANDILE MNGXITAMA
1 MAY 2017
Black First Land First Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org