Govt commended for updates on Mandela

2012-12-10 16:05
(Picture: AP)

(Picture: AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Video

Doctors conduct further tests on Mandela

2012-12-11 09:00

In his third day in hospital, doctors will conduct further unidentified tests on 94-year-old former President Nelson Mandela. Watch.WATCH

kalahari.com

  • Zuma Exposed
    This book exposes Jacob Zuma, in such a way that he would not want you or anyone else to read it. Now R189.00
    buy now

Johannesburg - Information on former president Nelson Mandela's admission to hospital is being made available quicker than previously, a Rhodes University academic said on Monday.

"Last time there was more of a gap, uncertainty," professor of journalism Herman Wasserman said on Monday.

"This time information seems to be coming out more quickly," said Wasserman, deputy head at the school of journalism.

This was after the presidency issued a statement on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday to brief the media on the anti-apartheid stalwart and Nobel Peace Prize co-winner's admission for tests "consistent with his age".

On Monday, presidency spokesperson Mac Maharaj responded to a Sapa inquiry to say there was no cause for alarm.

According to Monday's statement doctors would conduct further tests.

The public and family were also thanked for messages of support, and the media for affording him privacy.

It added that Monday was the anniversary of Mandela receiving the Nobel Peace Prize with former apartheid-era president FW de Klerk in 1993.

This was in contrast to what was described as a "media blackout" when Mandela was admitted to Johannesburg's Milpark Hospital in Johannesburg in January 2011 for a respiratory infection.

The dearth of information after one release issued on the Wednesday from the Nelson Mandela Foundation then escalated to rumours that he had died.

The Observer journalist David Smith wrote: "... the Twitter rumour mill ran wild - not the social network's finest hour."

Mail & Guardian editor Nic Dawes also wrote after that time: "So while the Mandela family and African National Congress leaders visited Milpark on Thursday, the rest of the country huddled as if in a national waiting room, anxiously parsing fragmentary and confusing news reports for information."

On the Friday, Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe and SA National Defence Force Surgeon General Vejaynand Ramlakan eventually gave details of Mandela's treatment and recovery at a packed media briefing.

The foundation only issued a statement on the Monday after he returned home. Later it emerged that there had been a disagreement over who should handle communications over his health.

At a meeting with editors it was agreed that communication on his health would be improved in future and would be through the presidency.

Vulture journalism

Wasserman said journalists also had to consider what sort of extra information they needed. "Everybody is wishing him well and there is a collective desire in the country to have good news.

"But at the same time, it calls for a bit of restraint, holding back. A point at which the media must wait and see."

But, he said if it had been President Jacob Zuma in hospital the public interest factor would have been stronger than public curiosity.

People would wonder in that case if there was somebody in place to govern, and so the desire for more information would be understandable.

Getting relevant information out was important to counter the possibility of "vulture journalism".

"If you send information promptly, the stronger is the need to not camp out [outside a hospital].

"Withholding information might play into the hands of the paparazzi," he said.

Professor Anton Harber, who directs the journalism and media studies programme at the University of Witwatersrand, said he was overseas and so had not been able to measure the current coverage.

However, he advocated "at least twice-daily updates, even if they were "one-liners". More often if there were developments, good or bad.

This was apart from more substantial and reassuring "face-to-face" communication, he said.

Meanwhile, Maharaj told the BBC on Monday they wanted to avoid Mandela's health being treated like "a movement of share prices on the stockmarket", and wanted his family to be with him without having to answer questions.

He said the media had generally responded well.

SA National Editors' Forum chairperson Mondli Makanya said: "I think the presidency was much more forthcoming in giving the public as much information as possible.

"It is sensitive. It is the health of a human being, he has family. I understand that he can only go so far. I think a long road has been travelled," said Makanya, comparing the blackout and the current approach.

"Mac Maharaj has been generally available and has kept [providing] updates."

The media had also shown a greater deal of sensitivity.

"Somewhere a medium is being found. It is a tricky one. It is Nelson Mandela, everybody wants to know... the world is genuinely concerned."

- SAPA
Read more on:    sanef  |  jacob zuma  |  nelson mandela  |  mac maharaj  |  anton harber  |  media
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
20 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.
 

Inside News24

 
/Wine
 

You HAVE to see this MTB Tsunami Fip!

You might not know what a Tsunami Flip is, but just watching this will turn your eyes into saucers. Check out this first-ever MTB Tsunami Flip in contest here.

 
 

Where were you when you last felt alive?

Bear Grylls’ top 10 things kids should do outdoors
Mountain unicycling – say WHAT?
Top tips to ensure you’re running right
Stand-up paddle boarding a great workout

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Deal of the week!

20% off Afrikaans books, music and DVDs. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to R1000 on Hisense smartphones!

View the large range of Hisense smartphones. Buy today and save up to R1000!

Hot gaming titles – available for pre-order!

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Day Zero Edition, Far Cry 4, Grand Theft Auto 5 and more. Pre-order now!

Get a free eBook

Buy 3 eBooks and get the cheapest FREE. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Bargain box – 60% off

Reduced prices, very limited stock. While stocks last. Hurry and shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Power and leadership are emphasized today. It is important to strategize and delegate well otherwise you may end up with too much...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.