Monday, 12 November 2007

It's either you are in business or government, Nchabeleng's advisor told by media Gurus

It is so saddening to watch somebody being grilled and questioned by experts yet fail to answer properly or at least satisfactorily especially on behalf of someone else.

Have you ever been questioned critically by experts on behalf of your clients?

This is what happened to Luca Ferreira, Consultant and advisor to Groovin Nchabeleng, Koni Media Holdings group chief executive officer on Asikhulume.

Yesterday Anton Harber, Caxton Professor of Journalism and Media Studies and director of the Journalism Programme at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg; Mohau Pheko, an Independent Political Analyst and William Bird, Director of Media Monitoring Project questioned Ferreira regarding Nchabeleng’s “decision” to buy 100% stake of media company Johnic Communications – a company that owns Sunday Times.

Sunday Times reported: Koni Media Holdings, a company belonging to Mbeki’s adviser Titus Mafolo, Foreign Affairs spokesman Ronnie Mamoepa, former chief of state protocol Billy Modise and a businessman have launched a R7- billion bid for 100% of Johncom.

The paper has been very critical of government – its officials, corruption and bad service delivery on its reports.

Whether government uses Koni Media as a front strategy to own South Africa media to control its independent editorial policy as some media commentators and experts suggest – remains unknown or at least for now.

Some say if government or those close to government take over Johncom SA media especially the Sunday Times or any other media company that with investigative newspapers – it is likely to lose all of its subscribers and this could result in the company loosing financially.

Asked by Harber of what Nchabeleng is likely to do when a Sunday Times runs or publishes a story that would be regarded “negative” on the side government, Ferreira just couldn’t come up with a very convincing and clear answer. This, on its only left the three gurus including Xolani Gwala somewhat worried about the future of the SA media.

To resolve a situation like this, it’s either you are in business or government, said Harber.

Is South African media in danger especially when its buyers have links and very close links with government? Should we get worried?

I am attached to Sunday Times I must admit that if I don’t buy the paper – I feel like my Sunday’s just not complete. May this has got something to do with that the paper offers, whether negative or positive – you have to simulate important and not important information for yourself.

But I’m sure one day – and that’s if the deal ever goes through – Nchabeleng should answer this question satisfactorily unlike his advisor of what he would do in a situation like that.

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