Outrage Mongering Over SABC

2016-07-01 10:54

NGO Right2Know together with other NGOs, private sector employed journalists, private sector media houses who dominate written news circulation and other anti-ANC personalities (from within or outside) and groups are up in arms over two matters that the SABC decided on in the main.

THE FEUD

First, is that the SABC TV news will no longer carry full visuals of riotous property destruction by youths who go on rampage during community protests especially when they see TV cameras. The SABC will report on the damage but will not interview the culprits of the crimes. This means although the news will be reported, such news items will no longer be accompanied by video.

The second editorial decision the SABC made was to review and halt shows where newspapers headlines are reviewed or advertised on TV thus helping with free advertisement of these private profiteering companies.

These two editorial decisions (they could be more) are viewed by today's marchers as anti-press freedom, and as compromised, aimed at keeping the public in the dark about government malfeasance in general.

THE ISSUE

This outrage and mob thinking fails to examine the industry properly and fairly. It also fails to examine societal and community behaviour. The anti-SABC marchers also ignore that individuals observe their own behaviour or experience, try to figure out what caused it, and then (whether or not their conclusion is in fact correct) shape their future behavior accordingly.

THE POLITICS

As for live TV footage of unlawful conduct, burning down of private homes or public property, looting or threatening children from attending school. These have been done, the result of the footage has led to more of the same occurring across other societies -contagion. Communities are led to believe that violence is the only way to solve any issue. News reports over community riots have been reported in a supportive tone by news media, even when violence occurs, journalists report such as "understandable response to the growingly and needed unpopular ANC". This narrative serves the agenda to propel the DA into the upper 40% national popularity to create a two party state as in US and UK.

Opposition parties of cause enjoy and encourage this behavior as it assist their goals - what is bad for country is good for opposition. ANC personalities who aren't in the current leadership structures too enjoy same as it paints incumbents in bad light. These two groups both hope to replace incumbents and the violent TV feeds assist their plans.

Many of the youths who commit violence during protests are seeking a known form of notoriety in our townships. Their leadership and "bravery" to commit violence & murders obtain them infamy and mention in media and helps inspire other youth community to start same trouble. Indeed, a community that complains over a school feeding tender that went to principals cousin has a bona fide reason to protest peacefully where attempts to deal with the matter have failed, but when that issue leads to xenophobic attacks or burning down of a clinic in the community and journalists cover same as service delivery protests the lines get blurred. It becomes propaganda. It also doesn't serve the community well.

UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCE

On the other hand, it assists the ANC electorally as it has been seen that the majority of the communities are never part of the violence and protests, they then see the ANC as a calming effect, order and safety and rally around it for protection. This leads many to question why communities riot and a day later vote for the ANC in their masses. Simply, the plan to make the ANC look bad does not work, and the plan to popularise violence via media coverage boomerangs as communities fear chaos.

COPYCAT PHENOMENON

TV coverage of violence only encourage the type of public violence and public shooting like in the U.S.,the F.B.I.’s Behavioral Analysis Unit, concluded that “the copycat phenomenon is real.” This work was further supported by New York University and our own University of KwaZulu Natal. Conclusively, studies show that communities can copy incidents just for the sake of copying them.

Contagious copycat phenomenon also exist. The more the service delivery protests are reported in the positive and supported even when law is broken, the more South Africa will see schools burnt down and children not allowed to go to school by the same heroes made and created through media reports.

U.S. media now tries hard not to mention the mass shooting killers names to break the contagion. This can not be referred to as censorship. Reporting a story and not showing its visuals as the SABC proposes can also not be seen as censorship. We already do not show certain images, be it nudity or dead bodies and such.

A Vuwani situation where boundary dispute was labeled a service delivery protests until the end. Even when communities are on a vigilante rampage, these are now referred to as service delivery protests in a guise to commit crimes.

As for the outrage of no longer offering free coverage of what newspaper headlines are, the less said the better. Newspapers ought to realize their basic truth. They are commercial entities. If they wish for advertising they can buy space on TV. Media consumption is changing and doing so fast. Media is mostly consumed via social media not TV. The first place you hear of a story is social media, not SABC.

MEDIA INACCURACIES

But importantly, newspapers are notorious with lies and manufactured stories as can be seen in the number of cases where they are asked to retract or apologise. The question for the SABC or any other media house is how far can newspapers be trusted to be accurate and not have other agendas. In terms of enterprise risk management, should the SABC continue to promote these headlines knowing fully well they are likely to be inaccurate. Can a litigant infact be correct to sue the SABC for damages should a newspaper headline SABC flighted turn out to be wrong and damaging to the subject. To demand that the SABC profiles newspapers or else it's compromised is silly at best and crooked at worst. Newspapers must stop thinking the public are fools, they aim to get free advertisement for their headlines and thats just it.

Outrage mongering must end. The media must stop holding the view it speaks for the public. It actually speaks for the owners of the media, the Koos Bekker and Ruperts, it aims to disturb black management of the country through weird righteousness using young people as pawns.

@mbindwane

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