Sit on that MAT and talk: Safashint on Media Appeals Tribunal

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I am really glad that most South Africans have positive things to say about the MAT, because then it does not make me a loner on the island of thought. I mean just look at this one headline:Eastern Cape grandmother and 4 grandchildren hacked to death

But wait… there’s more

Then you may argue: But the role of the media is to act as the voice of the people. That thing really did happen. And hey, police are investigating, I might not want to know that a killer is still at large but the job of the media is to expose the truths in society as they happen, and to encourage people to very much participate in the national debate.

 Great! Fantastic. And are they doing that? Are they in-touch with the people of South Africa, and are some of these disgusting articles even representing how I, you, us, WE feel, let alone how we think? I am also really surprised to see a country whose media works so hard against the betterment of its people economically, intellectually (there is a serious lack of stimulation), and politically, matter of fact, I haven’t bought a newspaper or seriously watched South African news since 2008.

 I personally too had a nirvana view on what journalism is about and when I came back to South Africa in 2007 (after staying in Singapore for 4 glorious years, and seeing what good journalism was about), I was 15 and I thought that I was ready… Only to find that the embryonic media that was positive in its infancy had morphed into a monster that had turned every reputable print publication into a tabloid, and some news channels were afraid to report on facts, whilst some could not even afford to bring the news….

 At the solicitous age of 15, MAN was I disappointed (but of course I drowned my sorrows in enjoying the animated-ness of Tito Mboweni who somehow made me liken MPC media briefings to soap operas, those were the good old days. I find myself a little frightened of Gill Marcus)…. Many people have stated, and I am quoting here: “this is an attempt by the ruling party to control and bulldoze the media using the tactics of apartheid regime.” oooh how far The State must have really fallen to be compared to such a demonic and totalitarian regime, *faint laugh*, on the other hand, The State, (what with its’ Public Protector, South African Human Rights Commission, Auditor General… to make sure that nothing even close to the regime of the Van ders ever happens again, lest we forget) asks: “The media has put itself on the pedestal of being the guardian. We therefore have the right to ask, who is guarding the guardian?”

 I am almost afraid to agree with them. Everyone has an authority that makes sure that all their work is up to a certain standard. Doctors, Accountants, Nurses…and it seems like media is but the only institution in South Africa that has been left to run amok. They say what they want to say, and then when asked to state their sources when their claims are being refuted, that is the wonderful time that they choose to shut their mouths, and of course talk about their constitutional rights (which we certainly must never deny them).

Our wonderful media has fed into the notions that South Africans are Xenophobic, Racist people forced to battle a daily war against crime and looting of state resources. *clears throat* While most of that is fact (no one should have to put up with rogues and embezzlers), how much of that is also a colossal untruth? Seriously though, they have completely cheapened the art of getting to the bottom of an issue, and then complain when people refer them to spin doctors as opposed to talking to them personally, and collaborating with them mano a mano.

 Unfortunately, the world media is not scrupulous when they choose to paraphrase our media,  and sometimes facts are very rarely checked. That is something that I have largely  been unfortunate enough to experience, especially when it comes to South African government. This is another one of the day’s headlines: ANCYL KwaZulu-Natal’s MEC Hit List 

 On the flip-side… Imagine being a journalist. You have a breakneck deadline, and need to not only have a page filler, but something that is also going to send shockwaves in the entire industry and of course, SELL Sell sell. What is it that some news channels like to say: “Ground-breaking” or “Hard-hitting” news/journalism (as if that were humanly possible). Its a dog eat dog world out there, and unlike magazines or weather, life is tougher for the news man, because they need to live up to those mottos and be sharp on daily basis.

 This tribunal is going to take care of both citizens and Journo alike, now who on earth would not want that? (I have a few people in mind… *wink*)

Is sensationalism more important that the integrity of the media? or are integrity and media now complete oxymoron?

 Those are the questions that I have today… So finally, there’s my thought on that topic. oh and yes, I am back in Cuba, but only a short while longer… (trust me, I would never advocate state controlled media! BUT at some point, a line needs to be drawn so that all parties can be sure of what is acceptable and what puts them on the verge of tasteless and tacky). Okay okay.

To quote Dladla: “Happy Reading”

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