Dr Iqbal Survé sets the record straight after inaccurate, defamatory Daily Maverick article

Independent Media chairman Dr Iqbal Surve.

Independent Media chairman Dr Iqbal Surve.

Published Mar 8, 2024


Independent Media chairman Dr Iqbal Survé has reiterated the company's commitment to media freedom and the rights of opinion writers after an inaccurate and defamatory report in the Daily Maverick.

Daily Maverick’s Chris Roper, in an article titled "Sad world when media moguls like Iqbal Survé become profound enemies of press freedom” made misleading statements fraught with inaccurate and defamatory assertions about the chairman.

The statements were masked as fact, but in truth they were defamatory and libelous.

Independent Media said it supports the principle of freedom of speech and the expression of diverse viewpoints and said that such expressions must not infringe upon the rights and reputations of individuals.

The Sunday Independent recently published an opinion piece by Edmond Phiri, titled “Is Karyn Maughan South Africa's Leni Riefenstahl – the Nazi Film Propagandist”.

Roper has chosen not to engage with the substantive issues raised in the opinion piece by Phiri, choosing instead to initiate a baseless and vindictive campaign to falsely associate Dr Survé with alleged misconduct.

Independent Media said this tactic by Roper and the Daily Maverick was tantamount to deflectionand propaganda, by diverting attention from legitimate discussion and maligning Dr Survé with malicious, false, defamatory, and unfounded accusations.

Setting the record straight

The chairman, Dr. Survé, wishes to clarify the following points unequivocally:

  • 1. Independent Media and its Chairman remain unwavering in their commitment to uphold media freedom and offer alternative perspectives within South Africa. We will not be intimidated by the attacks against us.
  • 2. We believe that the attacks from Daily Maverick and News24 are part of a coordinated effort designed to tarnish our reputation and influence business and legal opinions against us.
  • 3. Our editorial policy champions the independence of our journalists and opinion writers. We do not dictate content, nor do we police the viewpoints expressed in our publications.
  • 4. External entities and competitor media, including Daily Maverick and News24, will not dictate our operational or editorial decisions.
  • 5. We will continue our work to expose those journalists who, under the guise of objective reporting, serve the interests of external parties through propagandist attacks on selected individuals.
  • 6. We will defend media freedom, the right of opinion writers, and the right to have an alternative discourse in this country.
  • 7. We will not allow attempts to suggest that because one of the opinion writers exposed propaganda, it is, therefore, an attack against women journalists. We are known to be advocates for freedom and against violence. Any insinuation to the contrary is both despicable and unfounded.
  • 8. We will take this fight internationally and expose those working with international institutions that are currently part of the propaganda campaign against us.
  • 9. We aim to continue to expose the reality that certain segments of the South African media, notably News24 and Daily Maverick, operate under the influence of specific funders, thereby doing their bidding.

Dr Survé said since acquiring Independent Media over a decade ago, he and the company had faced unwarranted and coordinated attacks and abuse at a personal and professional level.

He said the attacks were designed to undermine the integrity and to economically collapse the Independent Media stable.

“However, we remain firm in our mission to fight on and will not be deterred. We will fight on, regardless of the opposition we face.

“Independent Media and Dr Survé are determined to continue providing a platform for diverse voices and perspectives, contributing positively to the South African landscape,” said the company.

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