Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Media Caught in a Tug of War

Jacob Zuma for once made his stance a little clearer by some rather provocative statements about the SA media recently. Among his writings come some interesting quotes:

"There are few, if any, mainstream media outlets that articulate a progressive left perspective."

"Those with power, particularly economic power, are keen that the media serves to reinforce their privileged position, while those who seek a more equitable distribution of resources campaign for a media that serves the cause of a more equitable society."

"At times, the media functions as if they are an opposition party"

Funnily enough, many members of the ACDP hold the opposite view much of the time: that the media is overly left-aligned and distinctly humanist (which is a bad word in ACDP circles). Perhaps in light of Zuma's comments we should be grateful that the media is not more left-aligned than it already is.

While the media does clearly dish out criticism of the present government, most of that criticism is deserved - for that kind of criticism to be withheld would be a violation of the integrity of the media. But then again, violation of integrity seems to have become far less of a taboo within the ANC than it should be. We watched with fascination in 1999 as the SABC covered the election build-up. The cameras covered each party's campaigns, throwing in little curse words over each one. When it came to the ACDP, the narrator said the event being shown was more like a sermon than a political campaign. But no bad words were said when the ANC event was shown. This was a blatant indication of ANC bias within the media. How can Zuma dare to suggest that the SABC is insufficiently aligned to his movement?

South Africa's media can undoubtedly improve. It can start leaning closer to integrity, good values, work ethics and basic human values, like the right to life of an unborn baby. If Zuma thinks the media leans too far to the right, he is wrong. It should lean even further.

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DISCLAIMER: This blog serves as a commentary and the views presented are not necessary the official views of the ACDP. For official statements and contact details, visit: www.acdp.org.za