Johannesburg - Broadcaster CNN has denied reports that it has
an arrangement with the Mandela family to broadcast former South African president Nelson
Mandela's eventual funeral.
"There is absolutely no truth to the allegation that
CNN has bought the rights to the Mandela funeral," it said in a statement
"We would consider it inappropriate to discuss this
issue in the current circumstances."
A representative of CNN's South African PR firm refused to
elaborate further, telling News24 on Monday there was nothing to add to the
CNN's local bureau chief Kim Norgaard tweeted on Sunday:
"Suggestions that funeral of Mandela has somehow been 'sold' to CNN are
deeply offensive. It is not true. Our thoughts are with Madiba."
The Sunday Independent reported over the weekend that
Mandela's daughter Makaziwe Mandela and her niece Ndileka held a sensitive
meeting at the end of June with officials from the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) and presidency over the
funeral. The SABC is the official broadcaster.
According to the report, SABC officials said the Mandelas
"demanded" that CNN be given "preferential" access and
status to the funeral.
"We are aggrieved and understandably so. But there
appears to be little we can do as the family appears to have their own plans,” an
unnamed official told the Sunday Independent.
"This wasn’t a request. It was a demand,” another
official said. "The CNN deal seems to be done and dusted."
Makaziwe Mandela refused to speak to the Sunday Independent
about the alleged deal unless the officials who spoke to the newspaper were
identified. In an interview with the SABC last month, she labelled the international media as
"racist" and "vultures" over the media frenzy outside the
According to the newspaper, the alleged demand for special
treatment for CNN is unclear, as the there is a long-standing arrangement with other
broadcasters that the SABC will be the only TV crew present, and will provide
live footage to other networks free of charge.