Big business and the private sector have not done enough to support independent local media in its efforts to hold government and other elite sectors accountable.
This is according the CEO of 10X Investments, Steven Nathan, who spoke at Daily Maverick’s The Gathering, which took place in Cape Town on Wednesday under the theme “The Media”.
10X Investments is the co-organiser of the event, along with the news website. The first panel discussion at The Gathering was amongst media bosses and journalists on the relationship between business and media.
Nathan said, while business exists to make a profit and it was hard to say where business should and should not place its money, business could not afford to be complicit in the face of media facing crackdowns and financial troubles.
“The money that business gives to political party funding, it can be said, is to encourage free and fair elections. Whether it is wrong or right is another story, but compared to what businesses give political parties, what businesses give local media is next to nothing,” said Nathan.
He said free and open societies, where information is freely shared with citizens, go hand in hand with robust and thriving economies. So, businesses should consider investing in supporting local independent media, an investment in securing the stability of economies that they operate in.
“Whether business likes it or not, they can’t thrive in an under-performing economy. It simply will not do well in an environment that lacks strong economic growth. It is disappointing to see business not supporting local independent media because they want to be politically correct,” Nathan said.
He said media was central to ensuring that the public remained informed about the decisions made by government and big business so that they could continue to be held accountable.