Julius Malema’s legal team is expected to set up a dedicated website to deal with queries about the expelled ANC Youth League leader’s court case.
In a press statement released on Tuesday morning, Brian Kahn Inc said that over the past few days it had received hundreds of text, e-mails and telephone queries from journalists, and that it was simply not possible to respond to each of these in a meaningful way.
“It would be unrealistic to disregard the media in what may well be a lengthy process in which the media, quite legitimately, has an intense interest. As a result thereof, and in an effort to balance competing demands and interests, this firm will set up a dedicated website in which we will, as and when we consider it appropriate, publish reports for the benefit of the media [primarily] and anyone else who wishes to access the website.”
The law firm will also set up a dedicated email address for media enquiries concerning the case.
Malema, who has in the past shown disdain for the media in general and the Internet in particular has in recent months taken steps to reclaim his online reputation.
In 2010, Malema threatened to shut down Twitter but earlier this month he reclaimed his Twitter handle, @Julius_S_Malema, and began posting to the social media platform. As of 25 September, Malema had 225 122 followers.
The move appears to be an attempt by politician to have a say in how he is represented in the media.
Sam Beckbessinger, strategic planner at e-marketing company Quirk, told the Mail & Guardian that reclaiming his Twitter account gives Malema the opportunity to talk back. “It makes the conversation two way. It gives him his own voice,” she said.
Beckbessinger pointed out that even when Malema was not talking on his own behalf online, there were people talking for him. “Some of it wasn’t satirical,” she pointed out. “There have been so many people speaking online on his behalf for so long, it says something about the fact that people want him to have a voice.”
In the first post on the website, juliusmalema.co.za, the site is described as a place to “get my responses to lies published by the media and journalists who want to sell papers and score points” and “a platform for us to engage in discussions and for the public to see into me”.
“No spin doctoring or reprimands from some outgoing goatee bearded SG [secretary general],”he says.
The site has been active since February this year but its authenticity has not been confirmed. — (c) 2012 Mail & Guardian