Media must report on facts - union

2013-09-11 19:37
President Jacob Zuma (Picture: AFP)

President Jacob Zuma (Picture: AFP)

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Johannesburg - The media has a duty to report on the facts of every story, the Transvaal Agricultural Union (Tau-SA) said on Wednesday.

"Once the facts and realities addressed are positive, reporting will get positive, and Tau-SA will be the first to applaud such a situation," union president Louis Meintjies said in a statement.

"... It will be difficult for any journalist to report positively about negative events. No journalist can report positively about a violent strike, to readers, listeners or viewers."

Meintjies said it was not possible to write a positive story on farm murders or irrigation water contaminated by raw sewage.

He was responding to President Jacob Zuma's comments about the media during his address to a group of journalism students from the Tshwane University of Technology on Tuesday.

According to the Mail & Guardian, Zuma said the media's reporting was so negative that he felt like fleeing this country at times.

"... When I am in South Africa, every morning you feel like you must leave this country because the reporting concentrates on the opposite of the positive," he was quoted as saying.

He said the media spoon-fed the public negative stories about government failures, but did not tell the story of how government had turned the country around from the apartheid system to a vibrant democracy.

Zuma said reporting was determined by media owners.

"Media is a business, it's not what it says - a watchdog, it's a business, they are doing business. The paper must sell, if the sales go down because the editor isn't doing well, he'll be dismissed."

Zuma said for the editor to make the business grow, reporting was tailored in a particular way, which was not necessarily how reporting should be.

He questioned who the students would serve if they became journalists.

"Who do you think in reality you serve when reporting; the interest of the public that you claim, as the media you stand for, or the interest of the owners and managers of the paper?"

Meintjies agreed that the country needed more positive news, but added that the negative issues related mostly to government.

Read more on:    tau-sa  |  jacob zuma  |  louis meintjes  |  johannesburg  |  media

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