Independent Media is a publishing house that runs a network of local newspapers including Cape Times, The Star, Pretoria News and Daily News as well as weeklies newspapers and magazines. The company also runs Independent Online (IOL), a major news portal in South Africa.

Media assets

Newspapers: Dailies- Cape Argus, Cape Times, The Mercury, The Star, Pretoria News, Daily News, Isolezwe, Daily Voice; Weeklies- Saturday Star, Pretoria News Weekend, Sunday Independent, Weekend Argus, Post, Independent on Saturday, Sunday Tribune, Isolezwe ngo Mqibelo, Isolezwe ngo Sonto, I’solezwe lesiXhosa; Magazines- GQ Style, GQ, Glamour, Glamour Hair, House & Garden, House & Garden Gourmet, Design Directory, Personal Finance, Business Report; News portal: IOL

Ownership and governance

Independent Media is 45%-controlled by state-owned companies from South Africa and China. A total of 55% in the company is owned by Sekunjalo Investments, a privately held equity firm, via its subsidiary Sekunjalo Independent Media. The remainder of the shares are co-owned by Public Investment Corporation, a South African state-owned corporation (25%) and two Chinese state-owned groups (China International Television Corporation and China Africa Development Fund, which together hold 20% in the publisher). China International Television Corporation is a company fully owned by China Central Television (CCTV), the main state broadcast group in China. The purchase of the publishing house by Sekunjalo Investments was carried out in 2013 with funds from Public Investment Corporation.

Source of funding and budget

Although local experts say that the publisher receives funding from the government, the operations of Independent Media are in majority financed through commercial revenues, mainly advertising.

Editorial independence

The media outlets operated by Independent Media have become openly supportive of the government after the purchase of the publisher from its former Irish owners, Independent News & Media (INM), a Dublin-based publishing group. Moreover, in recent years, the outlets run by Independent Media regularly publish content from Chinese state media. Local experts also identified a pattern of regular information dissemination of Chinese media content in the group’s publications.

No domestic statute establishing the editorial independence of Independent Media has been identified during the latest round of research.

No independent assessment or oversight mechanism to validate Independent Media’s editorial independence has been identified during the latest round of research.

October 2022

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