A Welcome Reflection On Our Media [editorial]

Nearly 300 members and friends of the media fraternity spent last Wednesday afternoon in a conference hall at Golf Course hotel, discussing the media and politics in Africa.

The first in what will be a series of lectures on this subject was delivered by the renowned Zimbabwean media entrepreneur and activist Trevor Ncube. Among other investments, Ncube owns a controlling stake in Mailampuardian, the successful South African media house with increasingly continental ambitions.

The African Centre for Media Excellence, the organisers of the lecture series, could not have chosen a more apt theme.

The relationship between media and politics is a most intricate one the two are not expected to be bed fellows but are supposed to serve the same public interest politicians wield power, journalists hold pens and pads and while powerful politicians rightly demand respect, journalists focused on the public interest should not defer to politicians.

Navigating such a relationship is never going to be easy, and it is worth reflecting on some of the key messages from Trevor Ncube’s powerful lecture.

Ncube spoke out against what he called brown-envelope journalism. Why do we journalists go to cover an event and expect, even harangue, organisers to give us “transport refund” (just like those delegations to State House)?

This ‘refund’, moreover, is almost always more than we would have spent in fares. As Ncube said, people will not respect a journalist if they know they can easily buy himher to report in a certain away. Where, Ncube asked, is our pride?

Ncube also aocated courageous journalism that does not give too much respect to politicians. He would, in fact, be happy to see presidents and ministers mocked in cartoons and words. One definition of courage is accurate knowledge of what one should not fear.

We need to remember that demanding accountability and seeking answers from our politicians, civil society, and businesses – on behalf of 34 million Ugandans – is a legitimate cause over which we should not be timid.

Obviously, Ncube addressed many other issues and these are only two. But journalists who approach politics with a mixture of sound ethical principles and professional courage would go a long way to serving the public interest.

Source : The Observer

Leave a Reply

Releated

Asia Today: India Reports over 8,000 New Virus Cases

NEW DELHI – India reported more than 8,000 new cases of the coronavirus in a single day, another record high that topped the deadliest week in the country. Confirmed infections have risen to 182,143, with 5,164 fatalities, including 193 in the last 24 hours, the Health Ministry said Sunday. Overall, more than 60% of the […]

SpaceX Astronauts Welcomed Aboard International Space Station

The crew of the International Space Station welcomed U.S. astronauts Douglas Hurley and Bob Behnken after their privately built SpaceX capsule docked Sunday.     NASA astronaut Christopher Cassidy and Russian cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner shook hands with their new station-mates as they climbed aboard.   “Welcome to Bob and Doug. I will […]