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Should we trust the media?

20 November 2011, 09:01
Considering the fact that news are the source of understanding what transpires around your surrounding area, the environment  that falls around you as a person, and the community you live in. Communication is one of the means, that human beings are able to pass news to one another, in the past, means of communication where slow and scarce, literature or “written word” was only available to the selected few.

The conditions of the times were unfavourable towards the media. Information had to be passed, mostly, by word of mouth, little written word was available for the masses. The history of writing dates back to the era of the Pharaohs, hieroglyphics was one of the most ancient symbolic writing known to mankind.

The art of writing and reading has evolved dramatically over the centuries. Ancient original manuscripts have been destroyed overtime during the past years of civilisation, battles were fought to preserve the early written documents, and people have suffered even to the point of experiencing torture which resulted to cases of death, from certain rulers.

Some governments have used such methods, or propaganda to derail the minds and spirits of the people to reach their own goals. The South African government has practised such methods in the apartheid era, by repressing media institutions, censorship to such an extent to make the media its propagandists, and promote its own agenda.

The apartheid government practised enough censorship and repression of media, and in actual fact was indirectly controlling the media, which in fact was promoting beaurocratic ideologies of that government.  The written word is much preferable media of communication, it is static, an article written in a newspaper column in 1990, will remain for ages, and reach a number of people.

The media should be allowed to report freely, ”The statement issued by the World Association of Newspapers during the world Press  Freedom Day (3 May 2005) says, “Media should be allowed to report freely and responsibly on issues that erode human rights. Failure to guarantee media freedom creates fertile ground for autocracy, with those in power refusing to be accountable and responsible.”

It is therefore important for a democratic country, like South Africa, to enable the freedom of press, which is futile for the advancement of society.

A press media with a responsible culture towards its citizens will adhere to promote the constitutional rights of its community. Freedom and human rights of the nation should always be the first priority of any governing body, to guard against unfair, unfounded information reaching the masses.

The Media Appeals Tribunal plays an important role in such cases where authentication, is crucial considering the impact, of self-promoting, self-righteousness might generate towards the reader, which might include propagandinism of one another, which might serve to be negative or positive effect, therefore a guardian, such as media tribunal board might serve the purpose.

"The various ANC proposal for a MAP and the various justification for this Tribunal have been so confusing and contradictory that it is impossible to say what such Tribunal would actually be empowered to adjudicate on, how it will be constituted and what its powers might. Some politicians have an idea that the MAP will be the shield against certain facts, which results from protecting politicians from unwanted publicity of their questionable tactics.

Julius Malema commented in Polokwane that the ANC has already decided on such a Tribunal and the parliament should appoint it. “President Jacob Zuma, citing his experiences in Russia ( that bastion of freedom of expression, respect for human rights and democracy) indicated that such a Tribunal would protect politicians from the publication of facts about their “private lives”.”

Seemingly interesting such a statement coming from the president, it must be noted that the MAP is seen as a watchdog for the Press Media to watch against all reasonable facts from publicity. I had a notion that a free country like ours, should be in a position of a free-flow of information, contrary to our early counterparts in the media circles , Pierre De Vos says, in August 18, 2010,” The Broadcasting commission of South Africa( BCCSA) was established by the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) in 1993.

According to the BCCSA Constitution it is a body corporate, capable of suing and being sued in its corporate name, and of performing  all such acts as are necessary for or incidental to the carrying out of its objectives, and for the performance of its functions and duties under its constitution. I wonder if MAP will actually perform any tasks differing from BCCSA, to protect its citizens against unfair distribution of information, unless the authorities have another agenda for creating a MAP Tribunal, which would be protecting citizens against constitutional and unconstitutional practises of the Press Media.
 
References:
Would Media Appeals Tribunal be constitutional by PIERRE De VOS
Power without responsibility: The Media Appeal Tribunal by THAMI KHUMALO.
 
Quotes:
World Association of Newspaper during World Press Freedom (3 May 2005)
Julius Malema during the P0LOKWANE Conference
President Jacob Zuma during his visit in Russia.

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