Independent Media executive chair Dr Iqbal Survé was appointed to the First Council of the Belt and Road News Network (BRNN) at a highly exclusive gathering of world media leaders in Beijing on Tuesday. He was the only South African to be invited to serve on the First Council, which represents 26 countries and 39 media organisations. – IOL 24/4/2019: “Top honour for Survé in China”.
Wikipedia describes the Belt and Road Initiative as “a development strategy adopted by the Chinese government involving infrastructure development and investments in 152 countries”.
|Dr Iqbal Survé|
The intention of the BRNN initiative is to create more markets for China and to enhance its geopolitical influence by spending billions on construction projects in countries which lack the capital to do this themselves.
Early examples of the indebtedness this creates is a debt crisis in Pakistan, and a default by Sri Lanka on a $1.3-billion loan from a Chinese state-owned company to build the Hambantota Port – and then ceding control of the port to China for the next 99 years.
So why was Survé the only South African invited to the media section of the Belt and Road News Network?
The ANC was effectively given control of the largest grouping of English newspapers in the country, in part through a PIC loan and through a multi-million-rand investment by two state-owned Chinese companies, China International Television Corporation and the China Africa Development Fund.
China would have been very impressed by a statement Survé made during his testimony under oath to the Mpati Commission that he had only been making interest payments to the Chinese financiers but not to the PIC.
The fact that he had reneged on the PIC payment to the long-term detriment of the country’s almost two million civil servants and pensioners was revealed by finance minister Tito Mboweni in Parliament on 2 November last year. This news, unsurprisingly, has not been communicated to the readers of the newspapers Survé owns nor on his IOL website – censorship by omission being a defining characteristic of the propagandist.
Another reason why Survé would have been invited is the almost-bizarre level of Chinese coverage his editors are compelled to publish on the front pages of his newspapers. (See examples in nose229 of November 2018.)
But a more compelling reason for his invitation could well relate to the giant, brainwashing internment camps that China is building to incarcerate more than a million Uighur Muslims in the Xinjiang province because they are perceived to be a security threat.
Satellite imagery shows the exponential expansion of these camps where Muslims are being forced to renounce their religion and sing the praises of President Xi Jinpeng.
Separation of families, forced labour and torture such as waterboarding are claimed to be routine in these internment camps. China denies the claims, saying the camps are “vocational training centres”.
Wikipedia provides more information under the headline “Xinjiang re-education camps” as does Amnesty International under the headline “Up to one million detained in China’s mass ‘re-education’ drive”.
News agency Al Jazeera has done more investigative work on this subject than any other. One of its journalists is Azad Essa who had been a freelance columnist for Survé’s Sekunjalo Independent Media newspapers and its IOL website for two years when, in September last year, he submitted an article about the suppression by China of the Muslims in Xinjiang.
Within hours he was told that his column would no longer be published.
The silence of African Editors Forum president Jovial Rantao – the internal ombudsman of Survé’s newspapers, although he has never been known to make a ruling – was deafening.
But the censorship of Essa had not gone unnoticed in China, a country where media freedom does not exist.
Survé’s appointment to the BRNN Council was an acknowledgement of the role he is playing in South Africa in promoting China and suppressing information which is inimical to its international reputation.
The termination of Essa’s column, along with the dismissal of editors Alide Dasnois and Wally Mbhele provide proof, however, of Iqbal Survé’s perjury when he told the Lex Mpati Commission, on the record and under oath, that he does not interfere in the editorial processes of his newspapers.
So massive has been the loss of staff desperate to escape what I call the “Sekunjalo Stench” that Survé has been forced to hire the Sunday Times’s Fake News castoffs, Piet Rampedi and Mzilikazi wa Afrika.
In suborning the newspapers he owns – and their editors – for his personal aggrandisement and profit, by attacking and dismissing those who did not show his required level of sycophancy, Survé has prostituted South African journalism to an unprecedented degree. Read the unchallenged Dougie Oakes article “It is time to go, Iqbal Survé” on Daily Maverick.
One expects nothing less from “the other Mandela doctor”, a money launderer for Brett Kebble, an avid Jacob Zuma faction supporter and a self-acknowledged legend in his own lunchtime.
But where was the due diligence when Dr Dan Matjila, former CEO of the PIC, lent Iqbal Survé R1 billion for the newspaper purchase, R4bn for AYO and attempted to lend him another R3bn for the Sagarmatha fantasy?
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