3 SA editors lodge defamation suit against Bell Pottinger in UK

Ferial Haffajee, Peter Bruce and Adriaan Basson accuse Bell Pottinger of being responsible for some or all of the abusive tweets directed at them because of their work.

FILE: Editor-at-large for HuffPost South Africa Ferial Haffajee at The Gathering: Media Edition at the Cape Town International Convention Centre on 3 August 2017. Picture: Bertram Malgas/EWN.

PRETORIA - Three prominent South African editors have lodged a defamation suit against the Guptas’ former spin doctors Bell Pottinger in the UK.

Huffington Post South Africa’s editor-at-large Ferial Haffajee, former Tiso Blackstar editor Peter Bruce and News24 editor-in-chief Adriaan Basson are being represented by London-based law firm, Leigh Days.

Bell Pottinger developed the Guptas’ media strategy to deflect negative media attention and to focus it instead on so-called white monopoly capital.

Haffajee, Bruce and Basson accuse Bell Pottinger of being responsible for some or all of the abusive tweets directed at them because of their work.

The three had published investigative reports which were critical of the Guptas and their allegedly corrupt relationship with former president Jacob Zuma.

Some of the tweets featured crude and offensive use of their faces edited onto other images which were often of a sexual nature.

The editors say the social media posts were designed to falsely portray them as biased, of lacking integrity and purveyors of fake news.

(Editors by Winnie Theletsane)