BCM

THE EVOLUTION OF MEDIA COVERAGE PRE AND POST 1990

As the sixteenth year of ‘freedom’ ushered in, one sadly observed the evolution of media/press reportage over the years and concur that indeed the media is free only to those who own it. The media also shapes national culture and sets the limits of national discourse and reflects the interests of the ruling class.

The SABC as an institution is pathetic. It is partisan and animated by ideology. With corporate-controlled media consolidating its foothold on media ownership as well as spreading its tentacles globally, news content altered dramatically. We are continuously being fed a steady diet of rehashed intellectual pap. Almost invariably issues are perfunctorily dealt with and treated peremptorily coupled with un-insightful political debates.

ZUMA‘S STATE OF THE NATION ADDRESS WAS A DISAPPOINTING REMIX OF THE SAME OLD SONG

Since South Africa’s inception as a “democracy” in 1994, there has always been a tinkering on the edges of the country’s socio-economic problems. There is a lot of playing around with words and repeating the same themes in all the state of the nation addresses without any substance or walking the talk. And there is this sycophantic cheering cohort some of whom are awakened by the clapping of hands and join in, while at the same time wiping off the drool on the sides of their mouths because they had been driveling. One wonders what they would be applauding. No head of state has ever tried to grab the bull by the horns. In his 11th February 2010 ‘state of the nation’ speech, President Jacob Zuma said the economy was turning the corner. I disagree. The appropriate phrase Zuma should have used is ‘cutting corners’. The reason why Zuma and all his predecessors failed is that “the discovery of general laws in the field of economics is made difficult by the circumstances that observed economic phenomena are often affected by many factors which are very hard to evaluate separately. In addition, the experience which has accumulated since the beginning of the so-called civilized period of human history has been largely influenced and limited by causes which are by no means exclusively economic by nature”. For example, we were conquered and owe our existence to conquest. Those who conquered us, some of whom Zuma praised in his speech, established themselves legally and economically as the privileged class of our conquered country.

CENSORSHIP CONTINUES AT SABC

The question is, should the public broadcaster do what private radio stations like Radio 702 does? Radio 702 did exactly that to me several times. One time I wanted to challenge Hope Papo of the ANC who during a talk show said that journalists at journalism schools were not being taught to portray Africa in a positive light. Whose role is it to develop a curriculum that teaches African reality? Is it not Papo’s ruling ANC? In fact, as Sali pointed out, teaching positively about Africa should start at kindergarten, then primary and to high school and not at journalism schools.

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