City Press to remove Zuma picture

Monday, May 28, 2012

Pretoria - City Press editor Ferial Haffajee says the publication will remove the picture of the controversial portrait by Brett Murray from its website, which depicts President Jacob Zuma in an offensive manner.

In an interview this morning on Talk Radio 702, Haffajee said she had taken into consideration everything said about the portrait, and that the debate around it had escalated into "a clash" that her publication did not want to be part of. Instead, she wanted to restore calm and start reconciliation.

"I would rather be part of calming down the temperatures, and being a resolution (sic)," she said.

Murray's painting, which was on display at the Goodman Gallery, sparked national debate on the issue of freedom of expression and the right to dignity.

It has also been the subject of a court battle last week when the ANC applied to have it taken off the exhibition and removed from the City Press website. The party's approach was premised on the President's right to dignity, while the gallery opposed the challenge on the grounds of freedom of expression.

The ANC also went on to call on South Africans to boycott the paper until the picture was removed from the City Press website.

Haffajee said she had gone through a painful time, most of which she described as "personally humiliating and scary".

The portrait has since been defaced by two men at the gallery, who painted over it last Tuesday. The men are yet to appear in court.