Views on media freedom diverse

2015-01-22 05:00
(Picture: <a href="http://www.shutterstock.com">Shutterstock</a>)

(Picture: Shutterstock)

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

Cape Town - The concept of freedom of expression in the media has a different meaning depending on whether you ask a journalist, an editor or a cartoonist.

These different and sometimes opposing views of media freedom emerged during a panel discussion organised by the Right2Know (R2K) campaign in Cape Town on Wednesday night.

R2K co-ordinator Mark Weinberg said it was very important to open up a discussion given the recent attacks on media workers.

The panel discussion formed part of a global debate on the freedom of expression, following a deadly assault on the offices of the famed French weekly Charlie Hebdo, by Islamic extremists, two weeks ago. The world seemed split between feeling that the depiction of Prophet Muhammad in cartoons was offensive, and championing the rights of free expression by spreading the "Je Suis Charlie" slogan.

Muslim Views community newspaper editor Farid Sayed condemned the killings of media workers as a "sickening crime".

He said media freedom should be looked at within the context of who owned media companies and what narrative they pushed at the expense of those without power.

Gatekeeping

Gatekeeping existed in every newsroom.

"I think we fool ourselves when we think we don't censor. We don't call it censorship. We say we spike a story or we edit."

He believed the balance of freedom of expression lay within allowing more marginalised views to be heard through the growth of community media.

Freelance newspaper cartoonist Brandan Reynolds believed his job was to shed light and understanding on pertinent news events and lampoon people in power for decisions that affected the masses.

However, this needed to be done within respectful parameters and with the intention of bringing people together.

There seemed to be differing views on whether a journalist's role was to promote social cohesion in nation-building efforts, or to promote a diversity of opinions.

Veteran journalist Zubeida Jaffar said she did not believe in a world where journalists acted like small children who were rude and obnoxious.

"I know instinctively that journalism is about being thoughtful. It is really trying to make sense of what is happening around you. It is my role to help society to understand the issue," she said.

She was not comfortable with media that presented the Muslim faith as stupid when extremists made up a very small portion of the religion.

"Humour really depends on where you stand and in our society, we are trying to bring as many people together. We have to think very deeply about finding the right words."

Another veteran journalist, Terry Bell, disagreed and believed that the best way to diffuse and undermine extremists and fundamentalists was through humour.

"We should all be tolerant and care about one another but one should also stand up and fight wherever possible," Bell said.

He said he would like to believe that journalists would continue to try to get as close as possible to the "incredibly elusive concept of truth".

Read more on:    cape town  |  media  |  info bill

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

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
7 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
PARTNER CONTENT
INFOGRAPHIC: New thinking required for retirement

Everything we believe about retirement is fast becoming outdated.

PARTNER CONTENT
WATCH: How education can change a life

A university education gives students the chance to create a better future for themselves, their families and to opportunity achieve their dreams.

/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
Traffic
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.