Journalist, radio personality, and author Redi Tlhabi took to Twitter to express her view that media houses should not cover press conferences held by “discredited narcissists” such as former SABC COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng and former ANC spokesperson Carl Niehaus.
As Tlhabi was reacting to a tweet from Zelda la Grange, who once served as Nelson Mandela’s private secretary, about Afrotone Media Holdings owner Mzwanele Manyi’s recent announcement that he would be holding a press conference on Wednesday to announce his “new political home”, she likely places the businessman in the same “discredited narcissist” category as the other two figures mentioned in her tweet.
According to Tlhabi, there is “no justification” to cover people such as Motsoeneng, Niehaus, and presumably Manyi. She says if “editorial dictates” are followed, there are more reasons not to cover them, before ending her tweet by saying that “spectacle as news and media [is] actively propping up discredited narcissists”.
Tlhabi later clarified in a second tweet that she was not calling for “censorship”, rather expressing her opinion that “universal editorial guidelines” do not include coverage of “the utterances of a charlatan and fraudster”.
Motsoeneng held a press conference in December last year, announcing the launch of his own political party, the African Content Movement, adding that he felt he could become president of South Africa and would “shock the country” come election time.
Niehaus, meanwhile, once the ANC’s spokesperson but now speaking on behalf of the party’s military wing Umkhonto weSizwe’s veterans association, held a press conference in July last year, in which he called for former president Jacob Zuma’s supporters in the ANC to defy party leadership. He was reacting to the party saying that those who wanted to support Zuma at his fraud, corruption, and money laundering trial last year should do so in their personal capacity and should not wear official ANC regalia.
Manyi’s own conference this Wednesday marks his departure from the ANC, an organisation he has been a loyal member of for decades. There is currently speculation as to whether he will be announcing the launch of a new political party, like Motsoeneng, or joining an existing one.