ANC regional deputy chair and MPL Tony Duba has launched a new newspaper, The Messenger, in Port Elizabeth to get more voices out on the street.
Port Elizabeth from the air. The publisher says the Nelson Mandela Bay region is too big to just be serviced by a few newspapers and added that the new paper would not be pro-government. (Attribution: Bgabel at wikivoyage shared
Duba said he had been thinking about opening a paper for a while and this was the right time. The Messenger's first edition hit the streets last week.
"The Nelson Mandela Bay region is too big to just be serviced by a few newspapers. If you look at Gauteng, Bloemfontein and other areas, they have more than one English newspaper on the street."
The Messenger is a 12-page broadsheet which sells for R4.50.
"The paper will cover all the news from all sides because the one English broadsheet title in the city [The Herald] can only cover so much," Duba said.
"We believe that if we have more players [newspapers] coming into the city, then there will be more coverage of the events/stories in our society that are not necessarily covered by The Herald."
He said The Messenger would be a weekly, for now, and the first edition last week was issued free at railway stations and other areas of Port Elizabeth.
"It was just to test the reception and to also look at what can be improved. I don't think it will get to be a daily, but how frequently it will be distributed will depend on factors such as advertising."
He said he did not have an active role in the paper as he had other commitments.
"The Messenger was just an idea that I had before I even knew I would be going to Bisho to the legislature, so I don't have an active role."
Duba said the paper would not be pro-government. "We need to have a paper that is going to be unbiased, impartial. We need to be able to report the facts as is."
Duba is the executive chair of BravoPlex 544, which is the publisher of the paper.
The Messenger, which debuted with a conversation with former mayor Nceba Faku, has a fairly young team which, according to Duba, is to give a chance to the youth to prove themselves.
The Messenger editor Khanyisa Sinqe said the next edition would be out in the streets on Wednesday.
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We'll wait and see how impartial this publication could possibly be. Mr Duba should be made aware that he might find himself out of favour with the governing party --- and out of the party too -- if the reporting does not toe the party line.