The head of the Sekunjalo Independent Media Consortium (SIM), Dr Iqbal Surve, has lashed out at critics – particularly those from rival media groups – for insisting on his making public the members and funders of the consortium created to buy Independent News and Media SA.
“SIM rejects with contempt the attitude by competitors who seem to believe that they have the sole and exclusive right to determine who owns the media and to dictate the terms of media transformation in South Africa or that they have a right to ordinarily confidential information,” it said in a statement.
Surve said all would be revealed on 20 June, but that in the meantime, it was necessary for the SIM consortium to abide by its undertaking to keep the names under wraps until after an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) of the sellers (INMPLC) convened on 17 June.
This fact, says Surve, has been “deliberately ignored and misrepresented in the media especially by competitors of INM”.
“SIM and the sellers have a specific commercial transaction, with confidentiality agreements and transaction timetable, which must be respected as in all such commercial transactions,” Surve said in a statement. He said it was important to “reiterate” this point due to all the speculation in the media.
“SIM is concerned that competitors have used redacted documents provided to the Competition Commission to misrepresent the SIM Consortium in the media. SIM wants to reiterate that it has provided the Competition Commission with the necessary information relating to the Consortium,” the statement said. “SIM asks that stakeholders resist the temptation of speculating and making wild allegations without concrete evidence.”
Speaking for the consortium, Surve said members were concerned that the deal is being subjected to “unusual scrutiny in some public quarters in relation to this transaction, when there has been no such scrutiny when others have acquired competitor media groups or as to who the owners or funders are of such competitor media groups”.