Sowetan not party to 'conspiracy'

Hill on Empire, the Tiso Blackstar Group headquarters in Parktown, Johannesburg.
Hill on Empire, the Tiso Blackstar Group headquarters in Parktown, Johannesburg.
Image: Supplied

Scores of EFF supporters gathered outside our offices yesterday where they were to be addressed by party leader Julius Malema.

The rally was part of a protest by the country's third-largest political party against public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan, who was making his appearance before the state capture commission for a second day.

In his speech, Malema made much of the fact that the commission's hearings are being held in a building that is also home to the Tiso Blackstar Group, the owners of Sowetan, Sunday Times, Business Day and a number of other media titles.

He stopped short of questioning the credibility of the commission's process, implying some form of collaboration between those he termed the enablers of state capture: the newspaper house and the commission.

Malema has a right to his views and, as a politician, we at Sowetan do not expect him to always have good things to say about us and what we do.

It is the nature of the relationship between the media and those who wield power - and Malema does wield some power and influence in our society - that tensions rise more often than not.

However, we would like to assure readers of this publication that Sowetan is committed to cover news in a balanced and as fair a manner as possible. We have no interest in praising or vilifying any of the sides involved in the current political conflict over state capture.

Where appropriate, we would continue to express our opinion on topical issues without being influenced by any real or perceived political and economic power dynamics.

As much as democracy cannot thrive without a multiparty system and the regular holding of free and fair elections, it cannot do without a robust and independent media.

At Sowetan we take this role seriously and are, therefore, always vigilant against attempts by political elites to bully or manipulate us into reporting issues only from a particular position.

Our loyalty is with our readers and this means that we have to provide them with balanced stories that are able to reflect all sides and hence help them form their opinions. We are not party to any grand conspiracy, real or imagined.

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