Serving the media or the public?

There are many things that one must agree are in the public interest to know. This, for example, includes reports of corrupt government and business officials or those who are under suspicion of such corrupt activities. Be that as it may, there are still certain reports by the media that are not actually in and or serving ‘the public interest(s)’, at least not in my interests, members of the public.

A report by a South African newspaper last week that the athlete Caster Semenya will be joining her family during the festive seasons at Moria, Limpopo, is one such horrible story ‘not [serving] the public, but the media interest’.

The newspaper, and it’s website, reported that Semenya, her parents and four siblings would join thousands of other Zion Christian Church pilgrims at the church headquarters in Moria, Limpopo, to celebrate the [this year’s Christmas] holiday.

Her father, Jacob Semenya according to the report, said Caster would travel home with the family to Ga-Masehlong village where she will spend “quality time” with the rest of her family.


The ‘quality time’ can be understood for Caster surely, like any other person studying or working about 1 000 kilometers away from his home town or village – would want to spend such a time, especially the Christmas holidays with his or her family. Further, it too can be understood that some of her family members, including her sibling Mmaputhi Semenya “missed her sibling [Caster]” who studies at Pretoria.

However, one cannot see what it is that is in the public interest in this report that, at the end of the day, saw the story ‘of Caster going to Moria’ being reported in any publication be it print and or online at all.

Here, one would suspect a media-biased agenda in that – the story does not in any way come close to serving or reporting what is ‘in the public interest’, but instead, seems to serve what is in the ‘media interest’.

This is mainly because the story is of no importance to the general public or ‘public interest’ for there are many people, including celebrities like Oleseng, a musician and a member of the church, who is very much likely to join ‘thousands of other Zion Christian Church pilgrims at the church headquarters in Moria’ but he is not being reported on.

Or could it be that he was not even asked?

Akanyang Merementsi

This is an article I wrote and was first published on 14 December 2009.

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