The SACP has accused "a large part" of the media and the "middle class
intelligentsia" of waging an "un-remitting and extremely hostile"
ideological offensive against the ANC and its alliance partners and has
called for "engagement" with the culprits, writes Ella Smook in the Cape Argus.

A report by the party's Central Committee, which held its first plenary session this weekend since the April elections, says that despite anti-ANC public opinion "constructed by the media and the chattering classes", the actuality of popular opinion in the alliance's African mass base ensured the ANC's success at the polls.

Nevertheless, the impact of the "media offensive" on minority communities highlighted post-election challenges.

"Much of the anti-ANC ideological offensive over the past year has been framed as a conflict between 'populism' and the defence of various 'liberal' constitutional rights (media freedom, freedom of speech, independence of the judiciary, academic freedom, etc)," the committee report says.

"The SACP fully supports these constitutional rights, but we strongly reject the notion that these rights can be defended and consolidated without connecting them to other critical rights – the right of all to (have) access to education, the right to employment, the right to shelter, etc."

It was therefore necessary to "engage actively and constructively with media professionals, academic institutions and think-tanks in our country".

Asked whether the SACP's accusations and calls for engagement were valid, Jane Duncan of the Freedom of Expression Institute said me-dia monitoring statistics did not bear out the alliance partner's "simplistic assertion" of perceived negative coverage.

Click here to read the full report, posted on