Article written

  • on 19.07.2015
  • at 04:34 PM
  • by Naomi Cohen

State’s new propaganda plan to hurt media budgets 0

President Jacob Zuma’s administration has a new propaganda plan that includes establishing a government TV news channel and copying the Democratic Alliance’s tactics in dealing with newspapers considered hostile.

The state’s plan includes slashing government advertising to media perceived as anti-government, pushing the SABC to tell more government news and channel more advertising to state media entities.

These are among the proposals of a national communications task team (NCTT) established last year by Communications Minister Faith Muthambi.

The NCTT began its work a year ago. Two task team members the Mail & Guardian spoke to estimated the NCTT cost between R2-million to R5-million to complete its work.

The NCTT notes in its report, dated July 10 and leaked to the M&G this week, “the ANC government might take … courage from what the DA has done in the Western Cape, where they decided to cut ties with the Cape Times for they deemed it was not adding value to their communication strategies”.

“The ANC-led government should have taken such a bold move long ago,” the report says. Ironically, the idea that government should copy the DA provincial government on the Cape Times matter is contrary to Muthambi’s publicly stated opinion.

Angry reaction
She reacted with anger to the Western Cape government’s decision to stop subscribing to the Cape Times and accused the provincial administration of damaging media freedom.

“The Western Cape provincial government trampled on this hard-won freedom by dictating which media may and may not be consumed.

“They implemented a crude form of censorship and removed the freedom to choose from provincial department heads.”

The ANC also reacted angrily, accusing Premier Helen Zille’s government of attacking press freedom.

The report says the national government is complicit in its own bad publicity because of how it managed its advertising spend. An ideal situation would link print media adverts “that are somewhat seamless with a particular storyline in the main news section”.

“This will never be allowed in the mainstream media and it would be stigmatised as pushing ANC government propaganda,” the report states.

Continue reading on the Mail & Guardian

by Mmanaledi Mataboge

Photo Credit: M&G/Delwyn Verasamy

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