JOHANNESBURG >> The South African government is launching a newspaper to rectify media censorship of government information, South Africa’s newly appointed government spokesman Jimmy Manyi said Sunday.
Manyi said it is the government’s responsibility to ensure media doesn’t selectively publish government news. The government is turning its bimonthly magazine into a 20-page, free, monthly newspaper called Vuk’uzenzele, which means “Wake up and do it for yourself” in Zulu, he said.
The newspaper will be the most circulated South African newspaper when it launches next month with more than 1.7 million print copies, Manyi said.
He said the media has neglected to report on the progress the government has made in South Africa.
“For us, everything I say is very important for the public to know, therefore we can’t leave it up to the media to decide what they’re going to tell the public,” he said.
South Africa’s governing party has proposed a law that could jail reporters for publishing classified information, as well as a media tribunal controlled by politicians that could punish journalists for infractions. These initiatives have been met with widespread protest. In the 2010 Press Freedom Index, South Africa ranked 38 of 178 countries.