How independent will Independent Newspapers be after the takeover by Sekunjalo?
INMSA is the biggest newspaper publisher in South Africa, with 18 titles, including The Star, Cape Times and Pretoria News. IOL is the digital division of INMSA. 10% of shares will be allocated to staff. If it is about black empowerment and sharing of wealth - then good. Or is it a political move to manipulate the press - then the writing is on the wall!
The COSATU and some of its affiliates make up a large portion of Sekunjalo Independent Media's (SIM) shareholding. We may see a further shareholding/ investment of 20% placed with an unnamed Chinese consortium to fund assets which had been stripped by the previous (Irish) owners. Can we assume that this is tied to the Chinese authorities, and their push for a greater media presence in Africa as part of their ‘soft diplomacy’ drive for influence in Africa? We know what China thinks of press freedom and freedom of speech.
Are we saying good bye to press freedom? (The New Age was ominously silent about Guptagate) The previous Nat government also tried to manipulate the press and improve their image by buying the Citizen newspaper. Is the ANC trying to do the same?