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Media has to cover Malema, says Wits professor

According to a local professor, the media is not solely to blame for Malema’s popularity.

Former ANC Youth League President Julius Malema in Carltonville at Gold Fields KDC west shaft to address striking miners on 11 September, 2012. Picture: Taurai Maduna/Eyewitness News.

CAPE TOWN - The media is not solely responsible for giving expelled ANC Youth League President Julius Malema his status and influence.

This is the view of Wits University Journalism Professor Anton Harber.

News agencies have been accused of giving Malema the publicity he wants.

People following Malema's address to dozens of South African National Defence Force (SANDF) members on Wednesday jokingly noted it was attended by almost as many journalists.

It has been argued that if journalists stop covering him he will fade away.

But Harber disagrees with the sentiments.

"I think there are people who break away from the ANC who get momentum, get audiences and get attention. If the media was pumping up Malema and wasn't getting interest in their audience, the coverage would fade quite quickly."

He argued that when the Congress of the People launched it received a lot of media coverage, but that did not give the party enough momentum.

"I think journalists have an obligation not to hide, but to cover what's going on; to do it honestly and fairly..."