THE debate about the difference between a journalist and a spy has raged since time immemorial. Intelligence organisations always have and always will use journalists and journalist cover, in order to gather information and to feed their narrative into public opinion. The recent return to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) report into the role of South Africa’s media during apartheid – this in the wake of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela’s death – reminded us of the extensive disinformation campaign waged by both the Afrikaans and English press against liberation movements. The TRC report revealed that at least fourty (40) journalists had been on the apartheid’s Strategic Communications payroll. Few have admitted to their apartheid spy role using journalist cover and the bulk of these Stratcom agents are still out there, some probably still operating within newsrooms today.
Matisonn says Myburgh for the most part put a stop to the Sunday Times exposing further details about the Broederbond, a secret Afrikaner society to which most influential Nationalists belonged.
Myburgh also blocked publication of reports about calls for the release of Nelson Mandela, unrest in the country, and meetings of the internal and external opposition. https://www.iol.co.za/news/south-africa/top-editor-was-an-apartheid-spy-1952183
John Horak served for more than 30 years as a police spy while working as a journalist in South Africa.Horak reported that half the newsrooms of South Africa’s newspapers were populated by informers working for the old South African government. He named almost every newspaper in South Africa as having had informers promoting apartheid. He said every journalist on the SABC would have known about the policy to defend apartheid.
Here’s his testimony at the TRC http://www.justice.gov.za/trc/special%5Cmedia/media03.htm
The three anti-apartheid activists – Qaqawuli Gedolozi, Sipho Hashe and Champion Galela – were killed after security police had abducted them at the Port Elizabeth airport. Nieuwoudt also allegedly participated in the killing of activist Steve Biko.
The TRC turned down his amnesty application for not fully disclosing all his crimes.
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Kevin Bloom, editor of The Media magazine, told the Mail & Guardian Online on at the time that ThisDay‘s decision to run Munusamy was “sad”.
“We have no shame. She is a totally disgraced journalist.
“Running Ranjeni is just sad. That a paper of that calibre would do it … you might expect it from one or two others.
“ThisDay must have debated long and hard about whether to run her, contrary to what many newspaper editors think. I doubt Ferial [Haffajee, M&G editor] or Mondli [Makhanya, Sunday Timeseditor] would ever run her,” Bloom said.
Bloom said he would ask himself, when reading articles written by Munusamy, whether there was an agenda behind it. “How do we know she was not a voice for some sort of faction?”
Bloom should see Ranjeni today and her relationship with Haffajee. But more than anything else, the latest revelations by EFF have elicited very little comment by the media. As it did in 2003 when the Ngcuka story exposed deep problems within the media industry, which were not addressed, the same applies today.