Jacob Zuma clarifies stance on ‘patriotic’ media

2013-10-29 15:07

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Journalists should put the country first while at the same time report in a balanced and fair manner, President Jacob Zuma has said.

Replying in writing to a Parliamentary question today, Zuma clarified his recent statements calling for more “patriotic” news coverage while addressing Tshwane University of Technology journalism students last month.

“The coverage of news in a more patriotic manner does not mean that journalists should not report in an objective and balanced manner,” Zuma said in his reply.

“It means ensuring balance and fairness and putting the country first before any other consideration.”

Zuma said his call was not directed at the public broadcaster SABC alone, but was a general call to the media.

Patriotic reporting did not mean that journalists should not expose corruption.

“Covering stories exposing corruption for example, in a balanced and fair manner, could also count as patriotism,” the president said.

He denied attempts to meddle with editorial independence.

“Broadcasting patriotic news, objectivity and balance are not mutually exclusive,” Zuma said.

“The presidency, in making the call for a more patriotic style of journalism, does not intend to undermine those principles.”

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