“All points of view must be left at the door”. This was the key message from the newly appointed editors of the Cape Times and Cape Argus, Aneez Salie and Gasant Abarder.
Salie and Abarder were invited to speak to the Board and other communal leaders as part of our Drink and Think series on 7 May. The newly-appointed Assistant editor to the Cape Times, Aziz Hartley, also attended.
Salie, Abarder and Hartley all have fascinating stories of how they came into their positions. From Salie’s story of how he first distributed newspapers on his bicycle, moved to photography and eventually became a journalist at the Cape Herald and then Cape Times, to Hartley’s story of how he went from being a janitor at the Cape Times, reading discarded newspapers to finally becoming a fulltime journalist, they demonstrated how with the right attitude one can achieve anything.
The editors discussed how the medium of print news is the best version of journalism. Although multimedia and electronic news gives you the most up-to-date news, newspapers give one the opportunity to receive news in a nuanced, unbiased and well-thought out way. Salie mentioned that he is both privileged and frightened to be the editor of the oldest continuously printed newspaper in the country.
After their respective stories about how they became the editors of the preeminent newspapers in Cape Town, questions arose regarding their respective viewpoints on Israel. There have been hiccoughs with the Jewish/Zionist community of late, and the editors did not beat around the bush when questions were raised about the editorial policies of the newspapers, specifically the Cape Times or the Cape Argus.
Abarder put it succinctly: He is the CEO of the Cape Times and he decides what goes in to the newspaper. He is guided by the press code and the Constitution. Not only that, but newspapers are there to be the voices of reason and give people the most relevant information.
There will always be mistakes, as we are all human. However, both pledged to maintain their warm relationships with the Jewish community and ensure that our views are always aired in a non-partisan way.