Media under fire in South Africa


PRETORIA: (By John Foster)–  President Jacob Zuma has pulled all stops to dominate media by unleashing hostile criticism drive. The campaign is full swing but in tactful manner to stave off backlash. With carrot and stick approach, media role is under fire and at the same time government is singing praises of media efforts in nation building and balanced reporting.

After rant against media, all of sudden Zuma welcomed TV channels and newspapers for their performance in uplifting the society. In his parley with second-year journalism students visiting Parliament, President said that media houses work to mint the money for media owners instead their due role to serve the interests of their readers or audience and asked future scribes for being open-minded when pitching stories in a balanced and rightful manner.

In a statement, Presidential spokesperson Mac Maharaj said Zuma hoped that the matters should be deliberated in newsrooms on a daily basis to make sure that the business side of the media does not eclipse story standards, especially at the time the country marched towards 20 years of freedom.

“Last  week for an instance the South African media opts to break the news that South Africa was rated 53rd in the World Economic Forum competitiveness index, however it failed to emphasize that our country took first position on the regulation of securities exchanges and second place on the availability of financial services.

“Further, the country stood second out of the 148 nations for the availability of financing through local equity markets, and it is pity that media looked shy to propagate these accomplishments,” he said.

Maharaj said, however, that Zuma complemented the role of some media houses to nation building as revealed during his meeting with editors, such as the LeadSA project of Primedia and Independent Newspapers, the Touching Lives project of the SABC and ENCA’s Heroes and Against All Odds programmes.

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