What do you think of the state of journalism in South Africa?
This is a very abstract question as there is no homogeneity on the state of journalism in South Africa. Yet majority of journalists who report on political issues tend to simplistically focus on superficial issues rather than the debates and discussions around the ideological telescope and direction of various political organisations. This in turn misguides society’s broader understanding of the essence of what political organisations pursue. In that regard, political journalism, except in few cases, is quite trivial.
What do you think is the role of a journalist is?
Journalists should reliably be the channels of communication and transmission of various messages in society. This should be located within a scope of building nations and acceptable value systems, as enshrined in the Constitution.
Do you think journalists fulfill their role?
They do, but often overwhelmed by subjectivity and narrow influences.
What do you think of the level of press freedom in South Africa?
Press freedom is profound in South Africa and should constantly be defended.
Do you think the media abuses this press freedom?
At times they do.
The cases of David Bullard, Zapiro and Andrew Donaldson are but some of the examples on over-extending press freedom.
What would the ANCYL to do improve the state of journalism in South Africa?
The ANCYL has a responsibility to broaden the scope of engagement particularly on political and ideological issues. We might need to constantly contribute focused ideological issues in the public discourse to help clarify the context of most issues we raise as an organisation. We also need to sharpen and strengthen our internal communications and media channels to give more detail on the issues we often get misrepresented or misquoted on in the commercial media.
Do you think the media is easily manipulated? If so, please include examples.
We believe in the observation that more often, media represents the ideas of those in control of the means of production. This basically means that in unequal and capitalist societies, the media tends to approach capitalism and the rules that protect the system as sacrosanct, and beyond question.
What message would the ANCYL like to send to the media industry?
Media should broaden its scope of engagement, and stop focusing on superficial and petty issues. There are lots of vital issues within the scope of the National Democratic Revolution, Developmental State, Freedom Charter aspirations and issues about the class struggle which should be given a deeper context. The media is inattentive to these realities and should rather focus on issues of leadership instead of being melodramatic.