CNN: No, We Haven’t Bought The Rights To Nelson Mandela’s Funeral

By Alex Weprin Comment

Here’s an odd story out of South Africa.

Executives at the South African Broadcasting Corporation have come forward to say that CNN had negotiated with former South African President Nelson Mandela‘s family to get preferential access to his funeral, when it happens.

The claims made by the SABC are somewhat unclear, with the story suggesting that CNN was paying for exclusive access, but also saying “It is not clear whether any money has changed hands.”

Regardless, CNN says the story is bunk.

“There is absolutely no truth to the allegation that CNN has bought the rights to the Mandela funeral,” a spokesperson says.

Update: Of course, CNN could have negotiated preferential treatment without paying Mandela’s family. We may have to wait and see if CNN has any special access.

From the original report:

The meeting was convened to discuss the coverage of Madiba’s funeral, of which the SABC is the official broadcaster. However the Mandelas demanded that CNN be given “preferential” access and status throughout, a conversation that was regarded as “inappropriate” coming from family members about “a funeral deal concerning one of their own…”

“This wasn’t a request. It was a demand,” another official at the meeting added. “The CNN deal seems to be done and dusted.”