News channel eNCA has released a statement responding to accusations made by Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema at a memorial service held for founding Zimbabwean leader Robert Mugabe at Orlando East Communal Hall on Thursday.
Malema accused the news channel of manipulating their coverage of him to portray him as a gangster, and of distorting pictures of him to make him look darker so that he appears “undesirable”.
The statement reads: “eNCA roundly rejects assertions by EFF leader Julius Malema that the channel manipulates stories in order to portray him as a gangster.”
eNCA editor Jeremy Maggs said: “Furthermore, the station regards as absurd claims that it distorts pictures of him to darken his likeness in order to make him appear undesirable.
“We roundly reject this absurd and fanciful notion. We abide strongly by the principles of fair, accurate, and objective reporting and invite Mr Malema to provide examples where we have portrayed him as such and take up the issue with the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa.”
The statement weighs in on the EFF’s decision to ban Daily Maverick, their investigate journalism unit Scorpio, and independent investigative journalism unit amaBhungane from party events, something the channel said it was “deeply concerned” about.
“Both these investigative units are doing important and brave work in exposing corruption and malfeasance and their efforts should not be hindered in any way,” Maggs said.
“Banning media organisations from political events is the beginning of a slippery slope towards a shutting down of democratic principles in South Africa.
“We will also not broadcast views and events of the EFF if they deal with bona fide documented criticisms of the party and its leadership by simply banning the media. I urge the EFF to reconsider its position.”
The channel committed to make available any footage from EFF events covered by them to amaBhungane and Scorpio.
(Compiled by Daniel Friedman)