Media Freedom Day

Freedom loving South Africans commemorated Media Freedom Day today, in South Africa. Today marks that fateful day in 1977 when the former Apartheid government shut down newspapers, banned civic organizations and arrested journalists and activists; the same actions being pig-headedly contemplated by the so-called liberation government in power, today.

While it seems that this same government are about to backtrack on the implementation of that disgraceful piece of legislation known as the Media Appeals Tribunal (MAT) in its current form, there is no absolute guarantee of that. Freedom loving South Africans need to remain ever vigilant and in united opposition to it ever seeing the light of day.

While MAT may indeed wind up as still-born, the implementation of that other sinister piece of legislation known as the Protection of Information Bill (POI) which continues to threaten our basic freedoms, is still very much on the cards. The same opposition we have shown towards MAT, needs to be gathered up again twice and thrice-fold, to defeat those who dare meddle with our freedoms.

We must not allow ourselves to be mislead by government propagandists such as Aziz Pahad, whose call for “a greater variety of voices… to be heard more often in the South African media…,” is nothing short of a smokescreen to give credibility to that new pro-government rag that is about to be published by the Gupta’s, The New Age. Sure we need a greater variety of voices in the media, but not those that toe the ruling party line, or suck up to the politicians, in anticipation of favors.

And perhaps as a sign that Media Freedom Day did prick some consciences, five senior editors of the propaganda rag, The New Age, resigned this afternoon, just  hours ahead of its launch tomorrow. Hopefully these journalists will now join a truly free newspaper publisher.

Let’s all stand firm against any legislation that threatens media freedom.

The most deceitful thing I read today…

Apart from the broken-record rhetoric about why South Africa needs the Media Appeals Tribunal (like another hole in the head), the most disingenuous thing I read today, was that the Nationalization of Mines is indeed on the ANC agenda, just like Julius Malema said it was.

I for one, knew all along that nationalization of mines was something the ANC had up their sleeves, even though various members strongly denied it. I always suspected that Malema was a just a useful tool, who was used to make it seem (to big business and wiser people) that nationalization was something proposed by the youth, and hence coming from ordinary people, as opposed to a government initiative. My suspicions have just become stronger.

Be that as it may, I could not care less if the mines are indeed nationalized. Implemented by an otherwise competent, trustworthy, genuinely democratic government, it has the potential to do good for ordinary people, at the expense of fat-cat, exploitative mine owners off course. What I do care about though, is that this particular proposal by the ANC, will be used to enrich mostly the usual suspects. The poor people who are supposed to benefit, will in all likelihood, hardly see a dime of this goodwill gesture.

If the ANC seriously expects us to believe that they have good intentions with this proposal, given their track record of self-enrichment, they are either diabolically arrogant about their own popularity and benevolence, or monumentally stupid. I’m betting most people don’t think they’re stupid…

Media Appeals Tribunal – What would Churchill have said?

In spite of the overwhelming opposition to the implementation of the absurd Media Appeals Tribunal (MAT), it seems quite certain that the South African government intends pushing on with its dastardly plan to snuff out free speech.

President Jacob Zuma, quite apparently hurt by constant media reports on his philandering habits and questionable abilities to lead, defended his government’s (read ANC’s) plans to implement MAT before parliament last week, saying “It’s not fair…” and “…a lot of pain has been caused…” Oh, how pathetic was that. 

And off course, we did not fail to recognise the disingenuous manner in which he tried to paint a picture which made it seem that the reporting was affecting mostly “poor people” who were defenceless in the face of the media onslaught. Come come, Mr. Zuma, the only time the media reports negatively on poor defenceless people, is when for example some idiot donates his monthly insurance premium to Ray Mcauley’s Rhema Church. Ordinary people are hardly affected by media expose’s; its public figures such as yourself and off course anyone else who willfully abuses the trust of the electorate.

Incidently, Zuma also went on to state that the ANC would not suppress press freedom, which sounded eerily like some of the unfulfilled election promises he made, prior to becoming President. Really Mr. Zuma, the uneducated masses, still drunk on freedom from Apartheid, and hooked by the personality cult that became effective since your term of office commenced, may fall for that; but not the rest of us.

Today, while reading an excellent article titled Betraying the revolution in the Mail & Gaurdian by author Kole Omotoso, I was reminded of the most inspiring segment of that famous speech by Winston Churchill during the Second World War, which went on to inspire victory by the Allies:

We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender,…

This speech was given on the 4th of June 1940, but Churchill also gave another speech earlier, on the 13th of May which I believe should inspire us South Africans to fight the government, tooth and nail, on this (MAT) and other draconian laws that they intend promulgating:

We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind. We have before us many, many long months of struggle and of suffering. You ask, what is our policy? I will say: It is to wage war, by sea, land and air, with all our might and with all the strength that God can give us; to wage war against a monstrous tyranny never surpassed in the dark, lamentable catalogue of human crime. That is our policy. You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word: It is victory, victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory, however long and hard the road may be.

The fight Mr President? Believe it, it is here!!!