Don’t blame the messenger for the bad news!

2015-07-30 15:20

South Africa is all the way on a downhill path. Overseas tabloids hail our country as a failed state. This is shocking, yet in the midst of the Escom crises, problems with service delivery, the bankruptcy of the South African Post Office and a lot of other political fiasco’s it is not surprizing.

What is even more appalling is the government’s failure to take responsibility for the fiasco. They carry on as if nothing is wrong and beware those who dare differ on this issue! Anyone who offers any kind of criticism is either racist or has some kind of hidden agenda. Nobody has the right to say what they really feel and think.

The latest witch hunt is directed towards the South African media. South Africans have always been able to enjoy a free and diverse media. We have been privileged in this regard and I believe that a lot of us have taken this for granted. Unfortunately it is not something to be taken for granted. It is a privilege that only those who live in the world’s democracies can enjoy.

The media has a very definite role to play in any democracy. It is the watchdog of a free society. It is the one pillar that allows for transparency, fair criticism and objective scrutinizing. We need the media in order to ensure good and effective governance. However it seems as if the ANC and the government have difficulty in understanding that.

It reminds one of our dark past where journalists were jailed and left to rot because they dared to speak out. Are we going to have a repetition of that? Whereto from here? Surely someone must make the government aware that their actions are not acceptable, nor admirable. Why do they always pass the buck? If a venture fails it’s either because of our history with apartheid or some other obscure reason, the latest being the so-called subjective,

irresponsible media reports. One wonders if they are blind to the myriad of problems that are characteristic of our failed state.

This is unbelievable! When are they going to take their heads out of the sand and get rid of their ostrich mentality? As journalists most of us take our jobs very seriously! We are here to make a difference! None of us have a hidden agenda. We all want to work towards a better South Africa not just for the current generation, but also for generations to come. Why? Because we believe it is possible!

However we can’t do it alone. We need to work side by side with all role players. The judiciary, the legislature and the executive should regard the media as a valuable partner, because that is exactly what we are. Without constructive criticism there can’t be any positive growth. We have to be honest with each other. We need to face our reality, however grim it may seem. That is the only way to deal with problems.

South Africans and more specifically the general public, should be made aware that the media isn’t out to get the government. It’s not all about sensation! The media has power in a democracy because it plays the role of a watchdog. If there’s no watchdog, there’s no democracy! We can’t afford to lose the freedom of the South African media. It is a pillar of a free society. We have to fight for this!

Furthermore when the media reports on bad news, it’s not a publicity stunt against the ANC or the government. It is because we seek improved governance! Bad news does not equal bad motive. Bad news is in fact good news in a democracy, because it allows for transparency. Let’s fight for the freedom of our media. It’s a precious gift granted only to those who are willing to stand up for it. Furthermore let’s remember that we need to keep a healthy perspective on who’s to blame in the event of bad news. Remember that the media is only the messenger of bad news. Therefore don’t blame the messenger for the bad news…

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