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[LIVE BLOG] The Gathering takes on dirty tricks campaigns

Follow The Gathering: Media Edition as a range of speakers tackle fake news, government regulation and more.

[WATCH LIVE] The Gathering, the Media Edition: #GuptaLeaks

The Gathering - Media Edition

[WATCH LIVE] The Gathering - Media Edition looks at the burning issues facing the South African Media today. Speakers include former Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, EFF spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi and many other prominent players in the South African media industry.

Posted by Eyewitness News on Thursday, 3 August 2017

That's a wrap from The Gathering, the Media Edition. Thank you for tuning in.

Hanekom stresses that the people who sit in Parliament have political consciousness and it was difficult before but it's even more difficult now for them.

Hanekom says that there are very good people working in Parliament and there's lots of work to be done, irrespective of where you positioned.  

Gordhan takes a swipe at Bell Pottinger, saying South Africans aren't interested in the PR firm's 'crocodile tears'. He says they need to pay back the money to an SA Aids orpahanage. 

He says the issue of the ANC being the liberator is problematic and says education is needed.

Gordhan speaks about possible pension cuts, like in Greece and the rest of southern Europe. He says that's possible in South Africa if people are not watchful. 

Gordhan says state capture is not peculiar to South Africa, he again stresses it's global about the top 1% and the rest.

Jonas: State capture demonstrates vulnerability of democracy.

Jonas: All public institutions are vulnerable, including the PIC

Jonas: The judiciary is strong but for how long

Jonas says South Africans have not looked at the state of local councils and state capture. He says we don't even know what is going on there.

Gordhan says it was about getting good people out the way. Same cycle, claims, harassment and yet another door open to get hold of resources. He says its now about acting 

Mcebisi Jonas says part of challenge faced by the ANC is that it has been weakened, if not captured. He adds it is no longer a principled movement with focus. 

Gordhan on motion of no confidence. He is being very cautious with his choice of words. 

Gordhan says that every single day that the current trajectory is allowed to continue, there's huge damage being caused and the longer it will take South Africa to recover. 

Jonas says the state has huge credibility problems and there is huge mistrust. He says a conversation is needed with the entire society as a whole as the economy and jobs are shrinking. 

Gordhan says SAA's new CEO should be given three to six months to do his job, without interference 

Gordhan urges South Africans to ensure that those doing the looting be held to account. He says: "Don't stop your trying to bring them to account". He moves onto SAA and the appointment of a new board.

Gordhan says around R100 billion may have disappeared, which is around 9% of government expenditure. He says social grants could've been doubled. He says the lack of impunity is a dangerous state to reach.

Former Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan says economic deterioration will probably continue in South Africa.  

Gordhan says some would say we're talking ill outside of the ranks of the ANC but in fact, they are being self-critical.

Gordhan says that the ANC 'doesn't get it' and that we should be increasing business confidence, not diminishing it.

Jonas says that international institutions have for the first time called into question fiscal credibility.

Gordhan asks how we take these dots from state capture to the ground and get more angry?

That's a wrap for now with the #GuptaLeaks panel

Basson says many organisations have helped the media by going to court and exposing things through the legal system. 

Poplak says the #Guptaleaks is a global story and it's about the rich not paying taxes at all.

Sam Sole praises whistleblowers, which he says in some cases have been black women, who have taken massive risks to expose corruption. 

Basson says other people like former deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas had more to lose, in fact, he turned down R600 million.

Stefaans Brümmer says he was at the Mail & Guardian at the cusp of democracy and how starry eyed everyone was after the elections. He says his best advice to everyone is to be a “healthy anarchist”.

It's also not only local...

Poplak says what the Gupta leaks reveal is how bad things are. He says even if the Guptas are stopped, we need to rethink everything about governance. 

Poplak: “This is not Harry Potter. The real world is very complicated.”

Basson says that white monopoly capital is legitimate and the Guptas have used something legitimate. He talks of Peter Bruce being followed and photographed, Ferial Haffajee being harassed on social media...

Sole is really going in on the Gup

Sam Sole says state capture places accountability on President Jacob Zuma's feet. He says: "None of this would've happened without president."

Poplak says that the Guptas are "very good gangsters".

Richard Poplak says state failure enables state capture and the Guptas knew this and exploited weaknesses in the state.

Basson says there are lots of officers in police who are great and says officers are working behind the backs of their bosses because they will go to Luthuli House. Both Hawks and NPA are ineffective. 

Basson says somebody in the ANC called Makhosi Khoza 'disgusting' but nobody has called the #GuptaLeaks disgusting, which he says it is.

There's also been a conversation that the Gupta emails and the trails are not just from one source. There are many sources.

Sam Sole says the Gupta emails have been decisive in demonstrating state capture narrative is very real. "Giving people information and therefore, agency - that's our activism."

Up next is a panel on the #GuptaLeaks, featuring Richard Poplak, Adriaan Basson and amaBhungane.





The 15 minute coffee break commences.  

Haffajee says that while we know that White Monopoly Capital was started by Bell Pottinger, there are elements of truth

There's now a conversation about the struggles of the business press funding and the JSE's decision to possibly move the publication of business results online. Business Day was 32 pages and now its 16 pages.  

McKend says that events are now how the New York Times mainly funds its business and not advertising. He says media organisations much change their funding models and that some are doing so successfully. 

Luke McKend: "People have been trying to game Google for years. We have teams whose sole job is to keep us ahead of them."

'Google monopoly capital' is also being discussed by panelists.

Huffington Post SA's business structure in now being discussed and Haffajee says that the pressures on young journalists is far higher than in the past. She says journalists are now expected to do more like Tweeting, posting on Facebook and a lot more. There's also talk of how journalists live in fear of getting the chop. 

Back to the red Audi, Daily Maverick reporting: "The vehicle seems to have been gifted by Brian Molefe to his son Itumeleng Molefe, a student at the University of Cape Town. Itumeleng is a longstanding friend of Lindsay Maasdorp and BLF leader Andile Mngxitama – he was also one of the students arrested in February 2016 during the Fees Must Fall protests. Maasdorp confirmed that Itumeleng lent the car to BLF. “I’m his friend. Yes, he borrowed me the car. So go now, write your bullsh*t story and f*ck off,” Maasdorp said."

Haffajee says the big issue that came out was the art of editing and having proper processes. She says there's been a lot of painful learning and adds layers of checking have been stripped away due to funding constraints. 

Ferial now being asked about the Shelley Garland blog and about the fallout and the lessons from there.

Ferial Haffajee says there needs to be tougher conversations about revenue share and she says SA companies need to move in the direction of Europe, where publishers have asked for a greater slice of the pie.

There's now a conversation about newspapers and the value proposition, which was actually from classified ads in the beginning. But this has been swallowed up by companies like OLX and Gumtree. 

Luke McKend says Google needs to take a greater responsibility when it comes to fake news. He says Google shouldn't fund publishers because a year from now we'll be talking about Google influencing news.

The next session is now underway.

More details on the red Audi is expected soon.

[WATCH LIVE] The Gathering, the Media Edition

The Gathering - Media Edition

[WATCH LIVE] The Gathering - Media Edition looks at the burning issues facing the South African Media today. Speakers include former Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, EFF spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi and many other prominent players in the South African media industry.

Posted by Eyewitness News on Thursday, 3 August 2017

The next panel after lunch will focus on fake news and media sustainability, with Marianne Thamm, Luke McKend, Ferial Haffajee and Sam Mkokeli.

[IN PHOTOS] The Gathering - Media Edition - by Bertram Malgas

And we're on lunch now. 

Ndlozi says it's unfortunate that the conversation has digressed from Multichoice and he says that even former President Thabo Mbeki would say that Koos Bekker and Multichoice are 'white monopoly capital.' Ndlozi says that the numbers are shifting from the SABC and to pay TV. 

Mthembu is dodging state capture questions and he's getting a lot of them

Ranjeni Munusamy asks Mthembu if he expects the media to apologise, does he also expect the ANC to apologise for state capture.

Strong words from Jackson Mthembu: "You are the messenger, but can you be credible?"

The issue of Multichoice and the finding of anti-competitive behaviour is now being discussed and Mthembu says this is the case across the board. He mentions a number of media houses who hold a monopoly in a number of areas, like Caxton and community news. 

Back to Mthembu, he says if media freedom is trampled upon, then all other freedoms will be trampled upon. He says the media has not asked for forgiveness and says the media gave South Africans the middle finger by not asking for amnesty.

Van Damme tells The Gathering that it would be nice if legitimate media denounced ANN7 and other Gupta-owned companies.

Grootes takes a swipe at the DA, saying Twitter hasn't been kind. Van Damme says "we've moved on." Grootes comes back saying but you won't let the ANC live down the Guptas. Van Damme says "they don't deserve to."

Ndlozi says the only time the EFF gets a free media ride is when they call for President Jacob Zuma to step down. When they call for the occupation of land, then they are not supported. Ndlozi says "I don't need you Stephen". He says the media must face its fears.

Grootes also goes after the DA for its Sunday afternoon press statement - yes, the embarrassing one on Kenneth Kaunda. Van Damme says the DA should perhaps calm down with Sunday statements. 

Panelist Stephen Grootes is throwing shade at the ANC’s Jackson Mthembu. “The ANC is more comfortable with the past” and also asks if in light of Guptagate and Nkandla, who has more legitimacy?

Ndlozi says the EFF boycotted Gupta-owned media before it became fashionable and points out that the media is doing exactly what the EFF got criticism for.

Ndolzi says the liberal media is scared of ideas like nationalisation and calls for the interrogation of ideas. He says the EFF believes in self regulation of the media but criticises the current system, describing it as toothless. He says self regulation as it stands is not effective at all. Ndlozi lashes the BLF too.

Ndlozi says the media is only catering for the 'converted elite'. He says the SABC is the only media organisation that has the language and geographical scope to cater for the poor.

Van Damme says the media is amplifying fake news and talks about a report that ANC MP Khoza being her mentor. She also raises concerns that the ANC is waving a stick at the media and is being threatening with a tribunal.

The DA’s Phumzile van Damme is now outlining the DA’s position on the media and lashes the media for its ‘infatuation’ with the EFF. She says all parties must be held to intellectual account and says the DA doesn’t always agree with the media, which is normal. 

He does however thank the alternative media who risked their lives in support of freedom. Mthembu thanks the late Suna Venter and the rest of the SABC 7/8.

Mthembu says the media refused to testify at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission for its role in entrenching apartheid and this has led to the suspicion of the media. He believes the media should still testify at this late stage because they still need to apologize to the black majority for a lack of reporting on certain stories, in defence of the apartheid government.

 Mthembu starts off by speaking about MP Timothy Khoza, who died in an accident yesterday in the Paarl area. He them moves on to raise issues about transformation in the media.

And with that, the debate is wrapped up

Heywood stressing that things are getting significantly worse in South Africa and appeals to the media to look deeper. He says there must be support for the media but the problem is a lack of willingness to spend money on media. Heywood says there’s a professional crisis in journalism but there are solutions to the problem. 

Media funding is also being discussed at The Gathering. An important and difficult issue, especially since some people want to ensure the truth doesn't come out.

Comment: It's important that the media listen to how our work is received in considering what the state of the SA media is. And what the future holds. Sheldon Morais, EWN Online Editor.

Hassan gives 702 a bit of a lashing, saying instead of reporting on the issues of a protest, we report on the inconvenience caused to middle class, like traffic diversions.

The panelists have the audience gripped. Jay Naidoo, particularly, is passionate, animated and forthright.

Naidoo says we do need to fix the top, but we especially need to fix the bottom.

Jay Naidoo says SA is bubbling with activism and that when someone can’t get a job after 12 years of schooling, it leads to actions like burning down buildings. It’s the only way for the disenfranchised to get attention.

Hassan says social media can be used to clear disinformation because this has become mainstream in daily life. She says there's a way to use social media and as the media, we must use it.

Heywood says Facebook and Twitter may be fantastic, but it doesn’t get people out onto the streets to protest. But he does criticise the notion that there isn’t good activism. He says there are people doing great activism in South Africa.

Jay Naidoo says that in 3 lifetimes, we won't have a world to live in because we’re committing ecocide. Naidoo is passionate right now, he says we live in the protest capital of the world and says that communities no longer trust the media. He lashes armchair activism like digital petitions.

Shifting back to Fatima Hassan's comments earlier...

Activist Mark Heywood is joining the dots between state capture and failure, by particularly focusing on the National Health Lab Services. He says there’s a huge financial shortfall there, which is ultimately affecting the poor.

Fatima Hassan is now discussing Jay Naidoo’s comment about fake activism. She says you can call it fake activist but she prefers to call it sinister. She says this is nothing new and that South Africa is about three years behind the rest of the globe. Hassan adds that the panel is not very representative and that there should be more black females on the panel next year.

Activist Jay Naidoo, when speaking on the BLF, says there’s fake news and fake activism.

Xolani Gwala says he was attacked and called a fascist because he apparently allows lies on his show. 

We're back, 702's Xolani Gwala is on stage welcoming guests.

There's now a 15 minute recess. 

Vlismas is on point! Jokes that BLF couldn't leave the CTICC because they didn't pay for parking ... Fact is stranger than fiction.

So, the BLF have left the gathering in a very expensive German car but forgot to pay the ticket, after unsuccessfully trying to gain entry. They claim to have tickets for the event, which is taking place at Cape Town’s International Convention Centre. 

Thierry Cassuto from ZA News addresses delegates and speaks about funding problems. ZA News is still publishing one video a week at this stage. A video is now playing.

Thloloe wraps up by saying the ANC's proposed Media Appeals Tribunal inadvertently fuelling the rise of BLF

Thloloe: The ANC is inadvertently encouraging the behaviour of the BLF and the people of Coligny through its anti-democratic posture. Very soon journalists won't be able to operate freely despite the Constitution. 

Thloloe addresses what could be fueling the violence against journalists.

Thloloe: The tinkering with our democracy has started. We heard it all morning here. In recent weeks the South African National Editors' Forum [and others] approached the court to stop the BLF harassing journalists and the BLF has largely ignored the court order. But it's not just from those quarters. Residents in Coligny harassed journalists. Journalists also complain of harsh treatment from police.

Thloloe: Open debate enhances truth-finding.

Thloloe: If it's fake it can't be news.

The executive director of the Press Council - and veteran journalist - Joe Thloloe now takes to the stage. He starts by recounting a time when he was arrested by apartheid police.

Abel: We wouldn't direct our clients to spending on propaganda machine.

Abel: People are prepared to pay for quality content. All business has to support [the media].

Mike Abel: Where would we be without the Daily Mavericks and amaBhunganes of the world?

Charalambous: It's about supporting the media as an institution.

Charalambous: I don't see Google and Facebook fighting for your democracy at the moment.

Styli Charalambous: Spend on advertising.

Bruce Whitfield: What is the one thing that you would have those who have the capacity to do do?

Pityana: What government doesn't like us to do is to talk about how much it costs us (business) to build a school than it takes them to build a school.

Abel is questioning why it took business leaders so long to speak out against President Jacob Zuma. He says why did it only happen after Nenegate, when Nhlanhla Nene was fired as Finance Minister.

Mike Abel is a founding partner and chief executive of M&C Saatchi Abel, one of the largest independent advertising agencies in South Africa.

We're hearing that BLF has arrived at the venue.

Pityana goes in hard, calling out President Jacob Zuma, the Public Protector, the National Prosecuting Authority and the South African Revenue Service.

Also on the panel with Pityana are Mike Abel, Wendy Appelbaum and Styli Charalambous

The first discussion is entitled "Business having a voice in media & politics" and is chaired by The Money Show's Bruce Whitfield.

Save SA's Sipho Pityana draws applause from the audience as he questions why the media still covers BLF (Black First, Land First).

[WATCH LIVE] Follow all the discussions HERE.

The Gathering - Media Edition

[WATCH LIVE] The Gathering - Media Edition looks at the burning issues facing the South African Media today. Speakers include former Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, EFF spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi and many other prominent players in the South African media industry.

Posted by Eyewitness News on Thursday, 3 August 2017

The media isn't off limits as Vlismas gets stuck into a number of titles and journalists.

Comedian extraordinaire John Vlismas is the MC for today and he already has people in stitches.

You can also experience the event by watching our live video stream, so you don't have to miss any of the discussions and debates.

We'll also be bringing you a unique bird's eye-view from Johannesburg.

EWN will be bringing you all the analysis, comments and colour from the Cape Town International Convention Centre.

Good morning and welcome to EWN's live blog on The Gathering: Media Edition, brought to you by Daily Maverick, Eyewitness News and Nando's.