We have no problem with most of the things the Sowetan columnist, Xolela Mangcu, wrote in his 11 March 2013 column published under the headline, “When communist find themselves tongue-tied”. But the statement that in the American system of government the president is held in check by all sorts of countervailing institutions and that Hugo Chavez’s government was the personalised one-man rule that prevailed in Venezuela cannot and should not go unchallenged.


Addressing the annual dinner of the American Press Association in 1914 John Swinton, editor of the New York News said “There is no such thing as an independent press in America. Not a man among you dares to utter his honest opinion. We are the tools and the vassals of the rich behind the scenes. We are marionettes. These men pull the strings and we dance. Our time, our talents, our lives and our capacities are all the property of these men – we are intellectual prostitutes.” I am asking my countrymen and women who are journalists if they are like the way John Swinton describes them in the foregoing lines or are they different? They must search their souls and be honest. Are they proud of their reportage vis-à-vis the wretched of the African continent?

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