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Author : Jackson Mthembu

ANC statement on SANEF`s comments

25 May 2012

The African National Congress views Sanef`s position that describes the ANC `s call to boycott City Press as `abuse of power and intimidation` as inconsistent and opportunistic. In our past engagements with the organization and other media formations, the issue of any party or formation withholding their buying power was accepted as an option where there is disagreement. As the ANC we are entitled to vote on this issue with the withdrawal of our buying power.

Given the continued refusal to reason with our request by the City Press, we have resorted to the use of other forms of persuasion. This includes the call for boycott of the City Press. We view this as a sensible and responsible option to continue engaging the newspaper.

We believe that our withholding of our buying power together with all South Africans who believe that the painting is offensive, in the instance of City Press, we should demonstrate our outrage at their refusal to remove the painting on their website. We do not view our call for boycott as the abuse of power and intimidation but as a legal and legitimate instrument to register our outrage at the insult directed at the President and remains exhibited on their website. We will do everything within the bounds of law to persuade the newspaper to accept the reality that we will not rest until this public display of arrogance is removed and a public apology made.

Until then, we will continue to call on all South Africans including all formations of civil society (business, labour, churches, youth formations and women organisations) and democrats at large who share our sentiment on this issue to boycott the newspaper, cancel their subscriptions as we have done already and not to advertise in the City Press.

Having demonstrated in our argument the difference between freedom of expression and public display of an insult, we recommit ourself to the defense of the freedom of expression, the right of dignity, respect and privacy. We want to reiterate that, the right of artistic expression does not supersede the right to be treated with human dignity.

Issue by:
Jackson Mthembu
National Spokesperson
African National Congress

Keith Khoza 0828239672
Ishmael Mnisi (082) 3335550