Sol Plaatje lauded

2017-10-11 06:01
The chief justice of South Africa, Judge President Mogoeng ­Mogoeng, spoke strongly on ethical journalism, fairness and a sense of justice during his speech at the Sol Plaatje University (SPU) on Saturday (07/10).Photo: Boipelo Mere

The chief justice of South Africa, Judge President Mogoeng ­Mogoeng, spoke strongly on ethical journalism, fairness and a sense of justice during his speech at the Sol Plaatje University (SPU) on Saturday (07/10).Photo: Boipelo Mere

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Ethical journalism, fairness and a sense of justice was put under the spotlight by the chief justice of South Africa, Judge President Mogoeng Mogoeng, during his speech at the Sol Plaatje University (SPU) on Saturday (07/10).

The event he spoke at was the second fundraising initiative for the year.

He was invited to the gala dinner by the first chancellor of the SPU, Judge Steven Majiedt.

Mogoeng anchored his speech in lessons learnt from the legacy of Sol Plaatje. He also relied on extracts that also highlighted inequality based on the colour of the skin.

He urged journalists to learn from Plaatje.

Regardless of the lack of a single university degree or even exposure to a school of journalism, Plaatje was lauded for being an excellent graduate of many universities of life.

He was employed by the University of London as a lecturer, after which he became the first African to start his own newspaper, the Koranta ea Becoana.

“Despite his lack of money, he did not give up,” Mogoeng said.

“He looked around for enlightened people who could fund a crucial project intended to open up the thinking of South Africans who were oppressed.

“It contributedand those who were not oppressed but had living consciousness to contribute toward the liberation of South African people.”

Mogoeng raised a critical question regarding the access to funding by the media, citing that it leads to the vulnerability of journalism.

He stated that funders often turned out to be the capturing and dictating forces behind editorial policy.

“Make sure that your funders are ethical, principled and genuinely well-meaning people. If not, rather steer clear of them,” Mogoeng warned.

Referring to himself as a continuous victim of unethical journalism, he called on journalists not to abuse what he called this noble profession, this wonderful calling.

“Journalists must learn from Sol Plaatje – that you exist to present and to disseminate information, not to misinform the public,” he said.

“You are entitled to have an agenda, but let it not be hidden. Let everybody know what you stand for and why, otherwise you will discredit this wonderful profession that was designed to serve all people fairly.

“Run down those who deserve to be run down, but remember to exalt those who deserve to be exalted.”

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