I was a little embarrassed over the blunders at State House on Wednesday when the president announced his top three and journalists were either too intimidated by the moment or didn’t have a clue about what to ask the head of state. Fair and well, it’s true that as journalists, we often fail to ask the hard-hitting questions. Just look at how some of the once revered talk shows have become more of public relations stunts.
But it’s also partially a culture of self-censorship where, while we live in a country with one of the best press freedoms in the whole world, journalists are easily intimidated by those in the upper echelons of power. I don’t know whether it is a cultural thing embedded in us not to rightfully confront elders or those in power on issues pertinent to society, but we need a relook at our training and approach to the profession. However, I feel editors are also somewhat to blame for not preparing/training their journalists well for events of such magnitude. It’s time for journalists and their media houses to take stock and do self-introspection.
Now that I have that out of the way, I have a bone to chew with some yapping know-it-all citizen journalists who think that being a journalist, you must be some super human – maybe like Liewe Heksie on her broomstick flying all through the night and eavesdropping people’s conversations through the chimney. That is why they have the audacity to say, “You of all people should know”. What does that even mean? That I should know everything? And when I know everything or want to know everything I am called a skinderbek?
I don’t dispute that in certain circumstances we may be regarded as mere gossipers especially when some journalists seemingly write stories that they suck out of their thumbs to influence certain agendas. Those are some of the journalistic practices that give us a bad name of being regarded as untrustworthy, sensationalists, unethical and story fabricators.
But when some of the big scandals are unearthed, they forget to praise the journalists for doing an honourable job. Some of you have no shame; you want to warra-warra all day about journalists and their imperfections as if you are the next best thing since sliced bread. Some of you are in professions that have brought the government and country into disrepute with your ‘trak-my-nie’ attitude, but we don’t beat you over your heads when you play computer games all day and don’t return to work after 2.
But just a few years back a journo was knocked-down at court by a Harry Simon wanna-be after he took a kiki of the notorious killer who was sentenced for gruesome gender-based murder.
I even overheard one guy saying, “Ja, it’s good - these story-lorries don’t wanna learn. They are in everyone’s blerrie business.”
You have no idea what journalists go through on a daily basis as they dodge low-laying Hitmans who might be waiting for them around street corners or bushes to dala them flat for writing an expose.
Mind you, I am not trying to make excuses for my fellow scribes, but I want this yippy-yaps to trade places with our journalists so that we can see how they can pull it off.
I wanna see how they will refuse the temptation of accepting the ‘brown-envelope’ and favours from overnight millionaires who want to drive their agendas through them.
I want to see if they would relinquish their expensive Range Rovers to take a jive to work every day or exchange that SUV for a little skoroskoro that they have to struggle to get out of the yard in the bitter
Give up your lavish cribs in Kleine Kuppe that you got for doing nothing so that we can see how you don’t complain for crawling out of your aunties’ backyards where you have set up a small kambashu while amplifying the needs of your communities.
You see, it is not easy to be a journalist. Have a little compassion and respect for journos and stop kicking them around just because they might have blundered once in a while – they have no magic.
2020-03-20 09:27:01 | 6 months ago