A radio station has been accused of being biased towards supporters of President Thabo Mbeki, ­allegedly banning them from ­participating in a talkshow and giving the platform to loyalists of ANC succession rival Jacob Zuma instead, writes Mandla Zulu in City Press.

Phillip Mhlongo, Siyanda Mhlongo and Sizwe Shezi, who are regular listeners of ­KwaZulu-­Natal radio station Igagasi FM, say they were barred from participating in the popular programme View Point

But Igagasi FM’s head of news and current affairs, Alex Mthiyane, has denied that they were gagged.

The problem came to a head last week when View Point presenter Gugu Kunene allegedly told them to give others a chance by calling, at most, once a week.

The three men accused Kunene of gagging them because they are Mbeki supporters.

“Kunene is always giving Zuma’s camp lots of time,while we are being told to phone once a week. In other words she has turned the station into a platform for Zuma supporters,” said ­Phillip.

The dispute started last month, when Shezi phoned to air his views during the show.

“He was put on hold then cut off on two occasions by the show’s producer, Hlengiwe Gumede, without any explanation,” said Phillip.

He said that on the third ­attempt, Shezi confronted Gumede about why he was being cut off.

“To his shock, he was informed that the three of us were forbidden to air views on the programme. This was said to be the station management’s decision. Upon further inquiry, it emerged that this was conveyed to Gumede by Kunene,” said Phillip.

Siyanda called Kunene’s ­behaviour “a direct violation of journalism ethics”.

Click here to read the full report, posted on the City Press website.