Nihilistic journalism, scheming and shunning of alternative voices by some dominant media houses, cozying up to the powerful politicians and influential business people is not doing justice to a country struggling with widespread cheating and corruption, a country failing to hold leaders accountable.
The society relies heavily on media houses to access news that is ethical, unbiased and uncensored. It poses a great concern when media houses in pursuit of profits, by legal or illegal means, suspend their moral compass, accept donations from private funders and increasingly engage in unprincipled news reporting which favour and protect certain individuals while attack everybody else who criticise or differ with them.
Daily Maverick’s attitude towards other media houses, journalists, news contributors and politicians, does not only exhibit toxic competition for audience but also the deadening journalistic-nihilism suffocating the breath out of every person with opposing views.
The oppressive practice of shunning other voices through brutal smear campaigns and fake news reporting delegitimizing the majority of black journalists and politicians, is increasingly creating discomfort to news readers and ordinary people who have entrusted media houses with a responsibility to shape public opinion and strengthen the society.
Daily Maverick’s exaggerated obsession with political factions has spared no one who dares to have an opposing view about anybody in their receiving end of consistent smear campaigns. The shocking suppression of others’ right to freedom of speech by Daily Maverick has seen many individuals referred to as "fight-back faction", and SANEF has done very little if nothing to knock ethics into the heads of the editors of this publication.
The quest to dominate and lead the national narrative is overwhelmingly violent. One example is the disillusionment created by nihilistic journalists and editors in the payroll of arrogant big business and abusive politicians, with an aim to delegitimize one’s reputation; campaign for the death of other voices in media and bring up any trash against the target by any means necessary. Journalists and editors have succumbed to what they deem necessary demons to possess in order to survive through tight competition. Serious commitment to ethical and truthful news reporting is replaced with simplistic and superficial reportage.
Erosion of vibrant quality reporters and alternative perspectives is betrayal to the commitment to fight for freedom of speech. Bullying of other perspectives will certainly result in many people choosing not to speak of the true depths of horrors of the powerful capital and its political representatives.
Unprincipled scheming journalists and unethical editors who have voluntarily surrendered their principles to the amusement of their political handlers and private funders, threaten the entire press community willing to speak painful truths to the public about real challenges such as wealth and power; misinformation by elites; white collar crime; political and corporate related corruption. The capture of news reporters and media houses means that the very last voice of ordinary people is silenced, and only the voice of those with money can be listened to.
The people of South Africa deserve to know the truth about the degenerating reportage. We must know the drive for wealth and power is the sole reason journalists have become the voice and spokespersons of few powerful individuals instead of being the voice of the masses. It should not come as a shock when veteran and respected journalists disintegrate from their neutral position and slide into dirty political battles where money is a determining variable. The thirst for a funded comfortable life has eaten the souls of press reportage and triggered war between obedient and disobedient voices.
It is true that everything ends. The destructive nihilistic journalism is now in the open for everyone to see, and like every other propaganda, it too shall fall into its own sword.
One of the crucial tasks for news readers and other media houses is to expose bias news reports displaying favouritism and news fixing by news people towards other news reporters, politicians, businesses and other media houses. The people must be confronted and call out these propagandists for what they are, because no one should be subjected to captured media houses spreading false stories and paying individuals to write false stories about certain political opponents.
* Thabo Makwakwa is a f reelance author and social commentator.
** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.