The Office of the Editor-in-Chief, Independent Media writes:
“Attempts by certain cabinet ministers and government officials accusing Independent Media of fake news are wearing thin.
The recent joint media statement by the Minister of Public Enterprises, Pravin Gordhan and the Minister of Transport, Fikile Mbalula, follows a now trite modus operandi of accusing Independent Media of peddling fake news when in fact, they have been given every opportunity to timeously respond to questions posed to them.
Statements are hurriedly issued after our articles appear in print and online.
In the matter currently in the spotlight, questions were timeously sent to the offices of both ministers and their media officials about their alleged fallout regarding a SANRAL contract. No responses were received to these and follow up questions. A statement was hurriedly issued by Minister Gordhan’s office the day after the article appeared in print and online. This would not have been necessary had our questions been responded to before the article was published.
We urge government officials and ministers not to hide behind statements issued after the fact but rather, to respond to our questions and queries which will be incorporated into the stories thus providing clarity or clearing up any confusion. Articles which reflect confusion, are a direct result of a lack of response from government.
We wish to remind the ministers that it was Independent Media journalists who broke the PPE corruption story which, too, was vehemently denied and condemned as fake news. This subsequently led to the expose of a multi-billion rand PPE corruption scandal which involved senior government officials throughout the country, including in the office of President Ramaphosa.
We strive to hold government to account. This can only be done if they are open and candid with the media.
Our editors and journalists stand by their stories. We reserve our rights.”