Independent Media responds to GroundUp

By Aziz Hartley

25 August 2022

Photo of Iqbal Survé, Executive Chairman, Sekunjalo

Iqbal Survé, Executive Chairman of Sekunjalo and proprietor of Independent Media. Photo World Economic Forum / Jakob Polacsek via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

This article by the Editor-in-Chief of Independent Media is a response to GroundUp’s editorial: Iqbal Survé’s newspapers take the side of the Lottery crooks.

Your piece points to our reports, which according to your rather warped view, is “a spate of articles on the lottery”.

We take umbrage at your accusation that we have suddenly started covering this or that we have taken the side of the “crooks”, and that we should have used your articles, instead of conducting our own, independent reporting.

Without going into detail about your allegations, what you imply is nothing but absurd.

While we don’t owe you or anyone else an explanation, the interview with former National Lotteries Commission commissioner, Charlotte Mampane, was not published in response, or because of your investigations.

We place on record that we do not take instructions from any media publication or outlet, especially those who may hold a degree of dissent against Independent Media, its shareholders, its titles and its editors.

GroundUp’s attempt to create the impression that we have deliberately avoided using your narrative, is in our view, yet another attempt to undermine us as a media house. Your articles could, in our professional opinion, also be construed as biased since they have not, to the best of our knowledge, conveyed the other side of the story. Whether it is right or wrong.

We are not here to convey our opinion, but to present to the South African public, a comprehensive view that includes all parties’ perspectives based on their understanding of the facts. Not ours.

It is overstepping the mark for GroundUp to mislead the South African public that it is the sole authority on this matter (the Lottery) and that all other media houses should therefore defer to it.

We hereby inform you that as we have not done in the past, we are not doing currently, and we won’t in future, follow up on your articles because you say so. Do not consider it in order to instruct us. It’s not. On the contrary. Your paternalistic view of what we should publish is at the very least, quite nauseating. Our editors have complete autonomy over their titles and we write what we like.

We suggest you reconsider your condescending attitude and we assure you that your latest attack on Independent Media, its titles and its editors and indirectly its employees, shall not go unchallenged. We will defend ourselves against an onslaught by you and your ilk.

If, in future, you have concerns, do us the courtesy of writing to me as the editor-in-chief directly, instead of airing your views in public, which have clearly been designed to promote your organisation.