Media Tuesday Bulletin: Re-cycled Malema story; 16 Days of Activism; & Farewell to Riaan

Posted: 27 November 2012 | News - Newsletter | Categories: Gender, Children, Media Freedom and Performance

In the bulletin this Media Tuesday:

·         SA media now recycling stories

·         Coverage of 16 Days of Activism Against Women and Children Abuse

·         Farewell to Ryan Cruywagen

What does a re-run of old Malema story say about the quality of our media?

“Do as I say, not as I do – Malema” was one of the many headlines seen in the media last week. The story was about former African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) leader Julius Malema giving advice to the recently-elected SA Students' Congress (Sasco) Student Representative Council (SRC) at the University of Limpopo’s Turfloop campus.

Malema told the representatives not to live lavish lifestyles while in office and not to change their lifestyles and buy expensive things as that would create a suspicion that they sold out.

If the media reports are anything to go by, we do get that there are double standards for Malema to tell the students not to live lavishly when he himself is living a lavish lifestyle. However, the issue we would like to focus on is the fact that this story of Malema giving advice to Sascoc SRC members in Limpopo is in fact an old story.

The story, produced by the South African Press Association (Sapa), was run over a month ago, but miraculously resurfaced last week with major news outlets running it. Just how did the story make it back into print? An explanation from Sapa editor Mark van der Velden was that this happened “either through technical or human error”

Van der Velden also went on to say that “what (was) very interesting coming out of this all (was) how so many other media outlets picked up unquestioningly on the story and used it”. Very interesting indeed!

Where were the gatekeepers when an over 30-days-old re-cycled story made it to print? Where were the editors and their subs and proofreaders? Why wasn’t it picked up, if it wasn’t? And why was it used unquestioningly as van der Velden pointed out? What does this say about the quality of our media? Suspended ANCYL spokesperson Floyd Shivambu pointed this to, among other things, the unreliability of South African media. Is he right? Is SA media unreliable?

How do you think mistakes such as these reflect on the state of SA media; and what do they say about the quality thereof? Is it wrong for media to recycle stories? If it is, why; and if not, why? Send us your views on Facebook and Twitter...

How should media cover the 16 Days of Activism Campaign? Should they?

The 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children Campaign – an international campaign that takes place every year from 25 November to 10 December – has already kick-started. SA media have also begun covering stories relating to women and children abuse as part of playing their part to recognise this campaign and what it stands for.

The City Press newspaper, however, has openly taken a stand that it will not be supporting this campaign. The publication said in an editorial titled “A 16-day festival of empty promises” this past Sunday that this year it “is not doing the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children”.

City Press further stated that:

“This is not because it is a campaign absolutely impossible to say in a single breath, but because it makes no impact whatsoever. It is a loud noise signalling nothing.

At every year’s end, as spring turns to summer and just before the country takes a break, there is a festival of promises. Promises that we will stop beating up, raping, and abusing our women and children. There are plays, marches, reports, speeches, activities, and lots and lots of articles.”

Contrary to City Press’s take on the matter however, was The Star newspaper’s coverage of abuse against children in yesterday (Monday)’s paper. The newspaper ran a front-page story about a seven-year old girl who was allegedly raped by three of her neighbours aged seven, eight and nine. Titled “Cops dismay ‘raped’ girl’s mother”, the story talks about how the little girl’s mother became aware of the alleged rape and went to the cops who said they could not open a case because the alleged perpetrators were minors.

On page three (3) there is another story titled “’I started to have strange dreams of pops’”, detailing how a grandfather allegedly drugged a 14-year old grandson and raped him at night. The story points out that despite overwhelming evidence pointing to the crime actually taking place, the police have not arrested the man.

A totally different approach by The Star really to the one taken by the City Press!

Given these two different approaches to the 16 Days of Activism Campaign taken by these publications, what do you think the role of the media should be, for the campaign? Do you also feel, like the City Press, that the campaign is a waste of time and the media should not take part in it? Or do you feel that the media should play an active role in it like The Star did? Do you think the media’s role in the campaign could lead to any meaningful change?

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Have any good memories of Riaan Cruywagen?

Last night (Monday) was Afrikaans newsreader Riaan Cruywagen’s last day on the small screen as a news reader. The veteran SABC newsread marked exactly 37 (or 47?) years since he started working for the public broadcaster yesterday.

His former employers, the SABC, said that they would hold a special morning breakfast to honour him, and even indicated in a video that after the SABC 2 viewers have watched him read his last news bulletin  at 19H00 on Monday, there would be “a special programme celebrating his life and his astonishing career”.

What good, bad or funny memories do you have of Riaan? How are you going to remember him? Were you a fan of his and his news anchoring skills? Are you going to miss him? What are you going to miss about him? And what is your message to Riaan Cruywagen as he retires to take duty as a fulltime grandpa?

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