SA media missed the revolution boat

2011-02-19 10:37

The revolution in Egypt kept my friends and I glued to Al Jazeera.

We opened ­bottles to celebrate with our Egyptian brothers and sisters.

I cried tears of joy because I am always told that this is not the era of ­revolutions, that people don’t take to the streets any more.

The next day I listened to all the radio stations for updates.

I didn’t expect much from Metro FM, but I was disappointed with 702 and SAfm.

They carried on with their light Saturday programming as if nothing had happened.

I called my Joburg-based Zimbab­wean friends, and they had no idea what I was talking about ­because most of them don’t have satellite dishes, also known as “cutlery TV”.

I was all revved up to walk to Harare to get the revolution started there while they had no clue about the social protests in the ­Arab world.

I looked forward to City Press last Sunday only to be met with a picture of Chommee in a stripper’s outfit performing for police ­officers and a picture of Hosni ­Mubarak further back.

This broke my heart.

The biggest story in the world was treated by the South African press like ­something that happened by the way.

I didn’t expect much from other Sunday papers or the ­tabloids, but I did expect coverage in City Press.

I fail to understand how the only coverage on Egypt was relegated to the back of the news section.

It spoke volumes about our media’s role – or lack thereof – when informing the public about events that happen on our continent. It’s sad that the average black South African doesn’t know Nawal

El Sadawi. Our media is further ­entrenching the ignorance of our masses.

The more people filled Tahrir Square in Cairo, the less the South African media used the opportunity to send reporters to Cairo or ­Alexandria.

The weekend papers were the worst. I had hoped there would be a pull-out I could keep for my children on the Egyptian revolution of 2011.

Instead, I found stories about Prince William, flings by MECs, and potions for Valentine’s Day.

I would love to know who decided that your readers are not ­interested in international news, or news about Africa. It’s probably the same person who will argue that South Africans love the Bold and the Beautiful.

» Motana is a multidisciplinary artist 

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