Jay Naidoo warns of 'society of secrets'

2010-12-30 22:10

Johannesburg - After all that South Africans had fought for, was the country stepping backwards to build "a society of secrets", asked former communications minister Jay Naidoo in an interview published in The Media magazine's January 2011 edition.

Naidoo was commenting on government's relationship with the media.

"The media, that very important pillar of our society, is under enormous threat right now because of the proposed protection of information bill and the punitive media appeals tribunal," he was quoted saying.

"Is that the type of society we want? It flies in the face of our traditions and our promise of a people-centred democracy."

Naidoo criticised his former colleagues in government for "interfering where they should not and being politically arrogant rather than working together".

He pointed out the recent SABC board saga as an obvious example of government's interference that had a negative impact.

"Parliament appointed a board of highly respected, competent, committed people and they should have trusted them to do their job and judged them by their deliverables.

"The board should have been left to do what it was mandated to do, rather than have to deal with political interference of the worst kind - which divided them," Naidoo said.

'His master's voice'

He was further quoted saying that the minister (of communications) should not attempt to micro-manage such an institution and described it as tragic that the SABC was filled with great talent "who are now working in an institution that is tarnished as being 'his master's voice'".

Naidoo said the issue was not only just about the media, but also the type of society people lived in.

"We fought to have a voice and to express ourselves freely and the media is an essential component in doing that," he said.

Naidoo said he believed that the issue was about a leadership that was open and accountable, and did not shy away from debate and scrutiny.

"A leadership that is confident in itself to lead from the front and not from behind heavy closed doors... The issue of accountability is central to this on both sides," he said, adding that the media could not be absolved from its ills.

Media not perfect

"The media is far from perfect.

"It needs to take a long, hard look at itself.

"It needs to look at the quality of its reporting and coverage; the investment on the part of the media owners and editors in diversity, in journalistic talent and retaining that talent, and in ensuring the sustainability of the media at a time when the sector is under financial threat all over the world," Naidoo said.

"We have a serious juniorisation in our newsrooms and we are simply not investing in training and ensuring investigations are done properly," he said.

Naidoo said this shortcoming had led to severe criticism, which was legitimate in the way that the media conducted itself and that the sector was not above the law.

"There needs to be greater investment in a more robust and accountable media."

Naidoo also agreed with government that diversity in the media was essential, and that it was "not happening".

"But instead of using a club, we need to come to negotiated agreements," he said.

  • Jixby - 2010-12-30 23:25

    Now that's what I'm talking about!

  • maseratifitt - 2010-12-31 00:01

    The short answer is to depoliticize the management of our country. At all levels. Scrap the Party system . Democratize the country. Open everything up.

      chub - 2010-12-31 12:16

      Deregulation caused the Enron effect... Government should regulate, accountability and judge them by their deliverables. Brilliantly said by Naidoo. I hope it is just not talk before the election. Open up but regulate them. The problem is that the current government is not governing effectively enough.

  • jeanius - 2010-12-31 01:40

    Hmm ... also a society of faceless and anonymous management. Just try to contact seniors in Telkom or Eskom or other similar institutions. Transparency has become severely clouded with Access to Information procedures becoming more and more cumbersome. It is truly time for the Civil Voice to speak loudly, clearly and in organised unison!

      Xena - 2010-12-31 09:50

      hey jeanius, long time..... agreed, civil society need to raise their voices in unison and DEMAND service and transparency!

      marjabr - 2010-12-31 09:54

      sooooo true!!

  • Zeus - 2010-12-31 02:38

    Totally agree that the Media is not perfect... BUT...Government is too big and too important to be left to the politicians. Z!!!

      maseratifitt - 2010-12-31 06:57

      Spot on, buddy.

      Legit - 2010-12-31 08:10

      Truth Intolerance is itself a form of violence and an obstacle to the growth of a true democratic spirit.I believe in equality for everyone, except reporters and photographers - Mohandas Gandhi.

  • Sluggo - 2010-12-31 06:09

    ".......was the country stepping backwards to build "a society of secrets", asked former communications minister Jay Naidoo..." Yes, Mr. Naidoo, unfortunately it is stepping backwards, as I discussed with you, late one night in 1993 when I predicted this would happen. Sigh!

      maseratifitt - 2010-12-31 07:01

      One of the hallmarks good management is to be able to predict and to anticipate. This, however is useless when not acted upon. What did you do to correct matters, Sluggo? A sigh is not enough.

  • Willem G - 2010-12-31 06:58

    Actually, Mr Naidoo, we are stepping back as far as being one of the only ountries in the world who have Communists in every level of government and as we all know "some animals are more equal than others"...

      Tc - 2010-12-31 08:15

      Willem is correct. The truth is that the ANC as brand has been hijacked (stolen) by Cosatu and the SACP. Is there still a real ANC? Where are they?

  • Pothole - 2010-12-31 07:36

    Clearly and obviously Jay will not put his cross behind the ANC anymore. Surely thieves want to operate in secrecy from behind heavy closed doors. Welcome to the real Africa Mr Naidoo.

  • kazio - 2010-12-31 07:40

    Just live your life according to God's will and give Him all the glory and the ills of today will not be significant enough to even write about, let alone comment and debate. Having said this however I must congratulate Mr Naidoo on his courage to challenge government as this is written in the Bible. We in turn though need to honour and support our leaders as best we can, so lets all do something positive in 2011..... And I await the vitriolous attacks with strength and knowledge that Jesus is my saviour and only judge.

      Worldwise - 2010-12-31 08:13

      Ugh. Another Jesus will make it better comment. Where in the bronze age users manual does it state that Mr Naidoo must challenge the government? Live my life according to Gods will? So must I kill those I love if they don't obey me like He does? Or is it do as I say, not as I do? You religious nuts are warped.

      kazio - 2010-12-31 08:51

      I love you my brother/sister

      Lawrence - 2010-12-31 09:18

      Well stated Kazio, your positive rhetoric has not assaulted anyone and certainly does not warrant your personage being attacked. As a parent who has lost all three his children to death under diverse circumstances I have found the promises in Gods word (Jesus the Word which became flesh) the only avenue of consolation and hope. God does not kill; humanity in its greed and intolerance of each other does a good enough job of that by themselves. According to the Word death is an enemy of God and will be put under foot – Death, where is your victory? Grave where is your sting? The worldly wise don’t need this reliance on a loving God, however I certainly do. We can shout this from the mountain tops - While most try to do their deeds in secret

      Worldwise - 2010-12-31 15:35

      Kazio, I am not related to you and do not require your love. Lawrence, after your loving God didn't prevent the deaths of your three children you still love him?! I leave you with this regarding the capabilities of your loving? God: Is God willing but not able to conquer evil? - Then he is not omnipotent. Is God able but not willing to conquer evil? - Then he is malicious. Is God neither willing nor able to conquer evil? - Then he is not God. Is God willing and able to conquer evil? - So why does evil exist then? Regarding Kazios post, it was completely off topic as religion has nothing to do with Jay Naidoo or the info bill. Kazio sought to make a religious issue out of the subject due to a pious preponderance possessed by all religious nuts. I responded.

      kazio - 2010-12-31 16:19

      my love and prayers to you Lawrence. You have so much to look forward to one day when you will be reunited with your children. God bless you now and forever

      Worldwise - 2011-01-01 01:26

      Oh Kaizo. How pathetic, not one question answered, only religious rethoric offered. Please, at least an answer of substance. Your fuzzy existence will soon come to an end when electricity breaks for more than a month. Think about it and ask your God for help from the marauding herds then. Think about it.

  • Tc - 2010-12-31 07:57

    Goodness! And this is coming from Jay Naidoo! What has gone right?

  • briansmith702 - 2010-12-31 08:16

    The media may well be far short of perfect but the ANC government is so corrupt and full of nepotism it will take years before they even the planet of trying to get to perfection so I do not understand where they get the idea when they are as imperfect as they are they want to introduce laws to limit the media. They are for no other purpose other than to cover up their total incompetence.

  • ArtGee - 2010-12-31 08:38

    Jay Naidoo is and will ALWAYS be an ANC Cadre! What he says must be taken with a pinch of Salt! He has had his time at the trough, and has set himself and his family up pretty nicely... thank you very much! To me personally, what EVER these Cadre's say, officially or not, is just a LOAD OF HOGWASH, no matter how pertinent it is! The ANC and their ELITE are DENIALISTS, LIARS, and CORRUPT to the TEETH!!!

  • Baby Ewing - 2010-12-31 08:43

    Naidoo you should have smelt the roses and acted when you had the chance as communications minister. It obviously didn't suite you then huh! It doesn't suite the present poepal either, so the ANC will continue to remain faceless as and when required.

  • william.botha - 2010-12-31 09:19

    Hear hear, Jay is going to lead the way and publish some secrets of his own.

  • Enigma07 - 2010-12-31 14:05

    In a few years this will become another zim. There is one word that is unknown in the new south africa and that is accountability everyone wants the job with the perks but when things go wrong or they are exposed then pass the buck to someone else or blame the old SA.

  • - 2010-12-31 21:20

    Valid issues raised in the interview with JN. On the issue of looking at the quality of its reporting and coverage, investment on the part of the media owners and editors in diversity, in journalistic talent and retaining that talent, and in ensuring the sustainability of the media, journalism does not appear attractive with journalists being arrested, government's determined stance on muzzling the media, government's intimidatory tactics with journalists and cartoonists sued for their creativity in expressing matters of public interest,these raise concerns as to the environment and strict government regulations censoring what is written, cartoons published. the impact of all of these will only be revealed as time passess do the media attract the young, upcoming and talented journalist if government hampers their work.

      Worldwise - 2011-01-01 01:31

      Please Break up your wall of text and learn to use punctuation. Or are allchildrentaughtto notuse it anymore?

  • - 2011-01-01 16:25

    Worldwise or wordwise? thank you for the suggestions much appreciated.Kindly note that "allchildrentaughtto" are 4 separate words and "notuse" are 2 separate words.If punctuation is to be correct then make sure your grammer does not suffer.

  • AllHoliday - 2011-01-05 16:26

    Thats the way to go. Agree, journalist should be trained to report the facts, not their opinions. If they however not report accurately, one can always sue them, so why want the government want to 'censor' them?

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