ANC deputy president Jacob Zuma took a broad swipe at the media – particularly the South African media – in a lunch at the World Editors Forum, saying they had gone overboard and infringed his dignity as a citizen, writes Bate Felix.
Addressing a luncheon of world editors gathered in Cape Town as a guest speaker, Zuma said he was pursuing his case of suing a number of South African newspapers for defamation.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œI did this after very serious consideration,ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â he said.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œI believe in press freedom, but I also believe that press went overboard in reporting about me. In respect of my dignity and privacy, I felt violated, the media went overboard, and they went beyond that and tried and convicted me and I think that was wrong,ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â he said.
Zuma said the media must be careful when dealing with individuals because they have little recourse when the media is at fault.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œWhen writing stories about individuals, big letters are used on the front pages, but when there is a mistake and have to make a correction, you [the media] write them in small letters hidden somewhere in the inside pages ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ thatÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s unfair because the first impression always remains,ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â said Zuma.
Zuma also warned that the media must not allow itself to be manipulated by government officials or people with vested interest because it might lose its credibility.