I have been following the media for a very long time especially after the Zuma, Tshabalala-msimang and Pikoli saga. I must admit – it has been quite interesting.
I, however, cannot say the same about the victims. Media is always said to be very critical of government, its cabinet, ministers, premiers, ordinary employees and their services.
Sunday Times last week said that:
Since the investigation into the missing records began, several sources, including intelligence and senior government officials, have warned the Sunday Times that Makhanya and Maker’s cellphones, among others, are being tapped. They also said that operatives around the country were trying to dig up “dirt” on the editor and the journalists involved in the story. Senior government officials and ANC leaders have also privately warned for several months that President Thabo Mbeki’s inner circle was unhappy about critical reporting by the Sunday Times. They have said it was believed that the newspaper and its owners were conspiring to undermine or embarrass the government.
This is criticism on the part of the media too. Because the media is the one that reports to the broader public since not all people can read the ANC TODAY by the President – it is therefore somewhat justifiable for the media to be very critical of government.
At times it’s the very same media that helps government on certain issues through its investigations which then informs the government of what needs to be done to address whatever issues came out of that investigation(s).
On the same breath, the President through his weekly newsletter ANC TODAY also criticized the media of “manufacturing usable lies.” This was after according to the President, the story written by Kgosana and published by City Press, about what had allegedly happened with regard to our National Chairperson, was a complete fabrication.
Mbeki said said: “It is perfectly obvious why Kgosana decided that his political agenda had to take precedence over all ethical considerations, including the ethics of his profession, centred on the need to respect the truth and not tell lies, as well as the integrity of his newspaper, City Press.
“Kgosana decided that he should encourage a perception that the ANC is deeply divided. In this regard, he decided that he would illustrate this by reporting that the veterans of Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK) are hostile to our National Chairperson, Mosiuoa Lekota, because they support our Deputy President, Jacob Zuma.”
Isn’t this criticism too whether negative or positive?
It’s very important for both parties – the media and the President – the look at what criticism has the other party brought forward whether it be negative or positive and from there decide on a critically response to such criticism in a proper and well-mannered way unlike pointing fingers at one another.
What is even shocking of this “criticism” is that not only has the media especially Sunday Times been the only publication that has criticized or been “conspiring to undermine or embarrass the government” but other publications have somewhat one way or the other been doing nearly the same thing.
Financial Mail editor Barney Mthombothi and Head of Johncom Magazine, Justice Malala to name a few have been and still are very critical on both Thabo Mbeki and ‘his’ government.
In conclusion it’s therefore of no importance trying to find neither the media nor the President fault of criticism but rather try to find ways in which and on how such criticism will help either of the parties to perform its tasks more efficiently and effectively so.