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"You cannot kill me I am alive on everything. " V.Maluleke

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The politics of journalism

Journalist often have the responsibility of disseminating information to the public, as the fourth estate and often described as the “watch dog”, the media needs to ensure that it maintains a critical level of professionalism. However, journalists are human beings since robot-journalism hasn’t reached its peak yet in South Africa, with thus said many of them have citizenship within South Africa. As per the Bill of Rights in the South African Constitution, Section 19 states that “Every citizen is free to make political choices, which includes the right – to participate in the activities of a political party” (South African Constitution, 2017).

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This is where deontology clashes with teleology, while journalists are ordinary citizens outside of their profession; their political affiliations have often created an illusion of distrust and unfair coverage within the media. The purpose of this article is to analyze the controversy surrounding South African journalist or media endorsing political parties. In order to substantiate this argument further I will employ the competing professional values in conjunction with a classical ethical framework. (The M&G Online, 2017)

As it should be known the South African media has established a self-regulatory body as a system to deal with ethical and professional lapses within the press thus being the Press Council of South Africa. According to the Press Council of South Africa; “South Africa is thus the direct opposite of countries where governments and other institutions try to exercise control over editorial content generally by seeking to punish editors and journalists for publishing stories that embarrass them, or disclose conduct that politicians, officials, business persons and others wish to keep secret” (Presscouncil.org.za, 2017).

Outside of the press council, stands a separate body which operates under similar principles but is set up for the electronic media e.g. radio or television and this is known as the Broadcast Complaints Commission of South Africa (BCCASA). The BCCSA is carried out by the Press Ombudsman and Appeals Panel under the overall administrative control of the Press Council.
In a nutshell these self-regulatory bodies are instruments that regulate the media outside of government restrictions, all media entities need to adhere to the regulations stipulated by this body. The above mentioned bodies are a form of deontological approaches, which are a set of laws or rules that are codified in some text and serve as a decision making tool. As a result many media entities – be it the press or electronic media – establish their own code of ethics with many of their principles derived from the press council. The codes of ethics within each media house vary and are used on a daily basis as a guide to make ethical decisions (Mg.co.za, 2017).

South Africa has a history of journalist who often openly disclosed their parties of affiliations especially under the apartheid era. These include the likes of – Tony Heard, editor at the Cape Times who was sympathetic to the ANC and Cape Times veteran columnist, John Scott who resigned as assistant editor to stand as a Progressive Federal Party candidate in Simon’s Town (Mde, 2017).

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While others would confidently agree the importance of journalist like those mentioned above to the public, others would identify this as an absence of objectivity. The reason why other identify this as an absence of objectivity is because journalist are the gate keepers of information and in such need to be impartial and unbiased when reporting in particular matters that pertain to politics.
One’s political beliefs or affiliations should never influence their professional space, yet this easily said than done especially because journalist without realizing at times are indirectly influenced by their person ideologies. This is where the deontological approach is put into practice; the code of ethics clearly states that journalists at all costs should avoid conflicts of interest that could negatively influence their credibility. (Wasserman, 2017)

While a set of codified rules are set out to follow them in their professional spaces, journalist do not always adhere to them, for example – Karima Brown executive editor of Independent media and fellow veteran journalists Vukani Mde attended ANC’s 103 celebrations in 2015 and posted pictures of themselves in ANC regalia. The public went into frenzy with South African citizens taking to social media to express their dismay while others simply expressed that Karima and Mde were simply exercising their political right. While section 3 of the Press council clearly states that; “The press shall not allow commercial, political, personal or other non-professional considerations to influence or slant reporting” the code that was breached according to Daily Maverick journalist Thamm (THAMM, 2017).

 

According to Thamm, journalists that openly express their affiliations with political parties are more likely to be biased, their opinions are already influenced by their chosen ideology and thereof endorsing their favored political party as opposed to fair coverage then becomes a difficult task. We have seen examples of this in the media with Business Day’s Peter Bruce who has no problem in publically slandering the current government or political journalist Carol Paton, who easily contextualizes power battles within political parties (McKaiser, 2017).

Another question to be asked here is what of political leaders who transition into the media for example, looking at the Sunday Times’s Gareth van Onselen, who once passionately supported the Democratic Alliance and is often faced with the challenging task of criticizing leaders of that party which in most cases unsuccessful.

Yet simply blaming journalists for their inability to be objective, is like turning a blind eye to state owned broadcasters like the SABC. Not forgetting the Gupta family who previously owned ANN7 television station but to date still owns The New Age and Independent Newspapers. South Africa has the advantage of enjoy free press but in a strictly regulated environment, this is evident in the Protection of State Information Bill (Secrecy Bill), the National Key Points Act, the General Intelligence Laws Amendment Bill and the now-on-hold Media Appeals Tribunal resolution of the ANC. One can clearly observe how laws have been created to control media but the government still ceases control over the media by adverting to publications and media outlets. (THAMM, 2017)

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In an attempt to solve this dilemma, Kant’s categorical Imperative will be applied which simply states that “act on that maxim which you will to become a universal law”(Kant Ethics, 2017). Which translates to a deontological principle, that works in a manner whereby what is perceived as right for none situation should be accepted as right at a similar situation. Kant’s ethical framework aims to test genuine obligation by universalizing it, this way humans can make decisions based on their conscious in order to benefit the greater good.

In this case, this would mean that in such a situation whereby journalists have been granted the permission to endorse political parties such should be universal. If the SABC is allowed to endorse ANC related matters, then Karima and Mde should be granted the same right. Whether or not journalists openly disclose their political views, objectivity within the media remains diluted with what is truth and what is false.

 

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Today’s menu: Nutrition

Papa and cabbage.

Papa and pilchard.

Umvubo.

Achaar, snoek and papa.

Brown bread, Rama and black tea.

Amanqina and papa.

Skop and papa.

While some might describe the list above as unhealthy, for a young girl like me growing up in a small township known as Masiphumele in the Southern Region of the Western Cape, this was my staple diet for the longest time. Pap was always had and meat was a luxury that was supplemented by canned beef or on the worst days amanqina (chicken intestines).

This was back in the early 2000’s of course with the economy regaining its stability and a post-apartheid South Africa, this country was regaining its strength and so were its people. Yet fast forward to a decade later and the latter has become more prominent than before, with South Africa’s population standing at 56,882,286 , nearly half of this population is black,unemployed and living in townships.

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Image by Franko Nkopodi

While Cape Town boasts as one of the worlds seven wonders and poses as an impressive destination for tourists, nutrition remains the last of its priorities. With 38.6% of Cape Town’s overall population  black, and nearly half of this population living below the bread line, the residences within these townships learn to get by with barely the minimum. These households consists of more than 4 family members with one breadwinner- if their lucky. In the likelihood whereby there is no bread winner these households depend on government grants to get by for the month, a child grant is R350.00 per month.

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Image supplied by Google

With inflation on the rise, this is barely enough for baby formula let alone diapers for a baby. In turn these families purchase in groceries in bulk e.g 10 kg maize meal for a month, these are the things that they can afford while it might not be as nutritious as fresh fruit, pap will sustain a family mid-month when there is no money. The market industry in turn uses the disadvantage of others to profit themselves,  getting groceries from Supermarkets with ‘affordable’ prices, when you cannot afford to shop at Komati Foods.

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Image by Franko Nkopodi

There has been an attempt to redress this issue for example;  The food dialogues report, which is a representation of an initiative that seeks to promote nutrition in communities. However after reading the first few pages of the report I realized how these dialogues had a clear purpose but the setting was in correct, what good is a light hidden under a table when it needs to fill an entire room? What I mean by this is that these dialogues are being held in suburbs that most black people have no access to more so, this information then only circulates within these communities rather than going out into the actual communities that are in desperate need of help. Another issue is organisations that do come into communities in an attempt to provide assistance do not do follow ups on the newly founded projects and thus then results in a collapse.

As a journalist it is then my responsibility to ensure that I begin with my community, by educating the people on smart living and how this is possibly cheaper than they think this will be a small step in a long journey to a healthy nutrition.

 

 

NB :This is not a review on Tyler Swifts hit single ‘bad blood’

By Lesego Mkhize 

We are introduced to Alexander Litvinenko, a Russian agent who fled from Moscow to London, in order to escape the country’s security service and Vladimir Putin’s feared wrath at that time.

In the opening paragraph Will begins with what is known as the “establishing shot” in photography. Here the scene is set, the audience is lured back into a vortex of time and can perhaps imagine themselves in London during that cold season. Will’s writing is delicately detailed and constructed in such a way that the reader could possibly confuse Will, with Alexander.

The author’s style of writing begins with a climax. He does this by using diction that will evoke the reader’s attention (e.g. violently vomiting). This is the authors attempt at preparing the reader for the catastrophic events that will unfold.

Throughout the article we know Alexandra to be a Russian agent who found himself sipping on something much stronger than tea.

We feel almost instant pity towards Alexander and the pain he is faced with but shortly after his death, the veil is lifted and we are exposed to the dark side of a man we felt so much empathy toward in the beginning of the article.

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The author cleverly adds a personified nuance to each character we are introduced to. For example; even in his last days, Alexandra still wears his armor of steel withered and all we see how vengeful he is even at his death bed.

“The poison had produced a death so painful that he chewed through his own lips.”

Once again there is a continuation in the use of over dramatic and extremely descriptive diction, to convey to the reader the urgency of radioactive poising and its detrimental effects during the Russian war. Perhaps this is not the only point the author wishes to bring across, maybe in using such raw diction the author is trying to show how the agents more often than not caused their own deaths.

It is here that the blame is shifted­­- we see the widow of Alexandra, Marina as an innocent victim who was unknowingly buried into a situation beyond her own comprehension.

As the article begins to gradually shape itself out we begin to slowly understand how poison comes in more form than one and that a dead man’s story is just that- dead.

 

I AM TIRED OF CARRYING MY MOUTH AS IF IT WERE CREATED FOR SILENCE.

 

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Sometimes having a mouth does not always mean you are allowed to use it.  Or at worst you are instructed ; how, when, where and why you should use your mouth. The above is very popular especially in society if you are both black and womxn.

Perhaps this is why as a student journalist I wanted to start a blog, beyond its academic purpose. I wanted to feel like I finally have a voice, in this very loud and deaf society that only listens to hear itself speak.  Hence the title “SILENT WOMXN”, this title comes from a place of frustration and utter irritation. Especially the sympathy black womxn are welcomed with, we are either the definition of pain or promiscuity.  And this is normalized as if this is the purpose of our existence.  Black womxn are diminished to the sex between their thighs… and we are tired.

We are exhausted of having to constantly defend our existence to people who only notice our bodies and forget our names.

We know how tell OUR OWN stories.

We do exist outside of your negative connotations.We have names too!

We know how happiness feels like in our own skins and on our tongues.

We do not just make love but we are  the very definition of love!

This blog serves as a mouth piece even for those who have forgotten how to use their voices.

This is why it is important for not just student journalist to have blogs but for womxn within this field, to express their OWN opinions outside of those that have already been manufactured.

 

Nine South African Provincial capitals

Rrr-ew-land Street (The only street in Cape Town that allows you to activate a different kind of sexy just by saying it!)

 

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Roeland Street sign

 

(Rr-ew land) The trick is in perfecting the street name…

 

Step 1: Take a deep breath in. Start by slowly releasing the air through your mouth arched in a pout-like shape to pronounce the letter R … so “Rreeew”

Step 2:  For optimized pronunciation please remember to  squint your eyes into a cat-like smize, tilt your head slightly. Now that is how you activate a Roeland Street sexy!

With my guidance I will help you unlock the ultimate, seasoned element of spiciness that Roeland Street has to offer. But first we need to start at the bottom…



Imagine that Roeland is a naked canvass. Yes… comparing tar and concrete to a whole canvas,  does kind of seem careless but what I am trying to emphasize is the ability this street has to bring together a kaleidoscope of people, and still be able to cater individually for them. In essence allowing the paint to be the painter, compared to Long street that is well known solely for its night life joviality. Roeland is versatile; varying from rug stores to design art-rooms for the creatives to work their magic. Of course this is a very vague description of Roeland but hopefully throughout this post, the metaphor will be interpreted clearer.

The birth of Roeland street, begins at the bottom of Parliament where St. John’s Road and Plein Street meet. Roeland functions as the motherboard of the eastern precinct within the Cape Town CBD vicinity, stretching up all the way into Brandweer street where the Roeland Street Fire Station is located.

Personally before this, Roeland existed only for  three purposes; academia, printing and Kimberly hotel student specials (Kimberly which I will mention a latter stage) beyond that…for 365 days I probably walked around the street with blinkers. Upon realizing that the street has actual life, I was exasperated at my own arrogance and more so at how I had taken Roeland for granted.

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Statue of Louis Botha in front of the houses of Parliament

Walking up from Parliament I am greet by the statue of Louis Botha, a constant reminder of why one, I cannot afford to live on this side of the city and two this is why I  prefer  to rather take my shady shortcuts so I do not have to keep on bumping it a frozen-in-time Louis Botha. Continuing up this road, on the opposite side between St. John’s Road and Hope Street lies St. Mary’s Cathedral, mind you I have not been to church in eons so this only added to the hoarded guilt.

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St Mary’s Cathedral

Still remaining on the opposite side of the road,  lies the 12-storey Ruskins House where Sunrise Court, Formula 1 technologies and Karate Fitness Dance& Modern Hip-hop studio (for those of us with two left feet) can be found. Moving further up this road is Varsity Collage, an institution where creatives are encouraged to flourish. Shop 34, at about 5 m away from Varsity Collage is Government Motor Transport, Mae Artisan rugs which is located opposite shop 34, which probably stocks some of thee most expensive rugs. To  help you willow in your sorrow after over spending on rugs, head on over to the Craft beer and wine bottle store. If you’re not a wine person, then at about 10 meters from the bottle store is The book lounge, where I have captured a few of my own memories for a book launch.

 

Now my favourite part, food. I am a mean foodie and being constricted by a student budget has not stopped me from satisfying my taste buds,  especially when there are eateries on Roeland street that accommodate my tight budget. Firstly I have only ever walked past the Raptor Room, East City Eatery, but the aromatic flavours always remind me of how I am yet to live my best life.

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The Raptor Room
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East City Eatery

 

 

 

So I’ve resorted to Vida Café , Food lovers Market and The Design garage which is downstairs from my lecture room (also makes some of thee loveliest muffins and wraps). 

Beyond the food, another advantage Roeland street has especially for aspiring journalist like myself are many archive houses; such as South African Heritage Resources Agency and Western Cape Archives and Records Service .

For young graphic designers Roeland Square  which ism located in Wembley square, is the perfect spot to; pick up a camera, make photocopies, laminate documents and mingle with other creatives.

In conclusion. Reeew-land Street not only caters for the designers and creatives but also the historians, the writers, foodies (like myself) and much more!

 

The period we do not talk about.

 

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No baby.

Your body is not hurt.

A girl has died inside of your body

She is simply

B

L

E

E

D

I

N

G

Herself out.

She needs to leave this way

OR

The blood will rot inside of you

and you will smell of a dead girl.

Even when you are a woman.

No.

Female.

Wants to smell of a dead girl.

ESPECIALLY

When she is a woman.

 

This is the period we do not talk about

 

For as long as i can remember,

menstruation

InMyFamily

has always been narrated this way.

Menstrual blood is d-i-r-t-y!

We  are told to stay away from sharks

disguised as

innocent

Boys

Sharks love your blood

But not

You.

And your blood

will attract sharks

 

it is your fault you have blood.

                                          you

cannot blame sharks for things like

                                                       rape.

 

Because menstrual blood is dirty!

It is polluted with dead childhood dreams

you have been trying to

resuscitate

throughout womanhood.

The dead weight between your legs is often mistaken for

sex

even when hidden

Bleeding reminds you of an existence within

that even your vagina walls cannot contain

Every month

for

                 7

d a y s

i am bleeding another woman out.

my

Circumcision-Period

does not end.

How do you expect me to stay the same?

And

why do boys not bleed like we do?

why do they not bleed into manhood?

These boys

                 hide

up mountains

             &seek

manhood

 a role-

they cannot

play.

                                  I

wish someone could have said to me

 instead…

NO baby your body is not:

hurt.

You are a bleeding that does not heal

STOP

stitching up your

                      womanhood

Covering it up with band-aids&apologizing

 as if

bleeding

makes you:

hurt.

 -Lesego Mkhize

Silence.

if you do not scream no one will

hear you.

your body plays out a silent monologue uncomfortably  that not everyone can bare to watch. even the couch is disgusted at how you can live in a decaying body and

r

o

t

yourself self into adulthood.

 – Lesego Mkhize

 

Data journalism: wait what journalists now get paid in megabytes?

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Imagine a world where journalists earned megabytes for a living. A world where the data must fall campaign did not exist, imagine if the world become a utopia for mobile networks we would all live happily ever after right? Wrong. Sadly,all of the above is only good enough for one’s imagination rather than for reality. The truth is, data journalism (DJ) has nothing to do with megabytes but much more to do with how journalists analyse and capture data in order to create correlation and causality.

DJ is not a new concept,in fact its been around before Mandoza started singing Nkalakata according to Simon Rogers;

The first ever edition of the Guardian‘s news coverage was dominated by a large (leaked) table listing every school in Manchester, its costs and pupil numbers.

My point is data has been around since the bygone age, only it was being published in books as statistics or figures whereas now it comes on spreadsheets and files formatted for computers. DJ has only recently started to gain momentum in the media,prior to this journalists were or still are data illiterate when it comes to data journalism. The organisation Code for South Africa  has recently launched the data journalism academy, personally I think  there should be no excuse for journalists not to equip themselves with the essential skills in order to understand digital media.

Data is powerful and as a result journalist need to learn to cut it down into bite size chunks without compromising quality for quantity.  DJ encourages journalists to use digital media  creatively in order to produce current and well analyzed information compared to the traditional news room methods. Let’s look at an example closer to home. Zuma’s  Inkandla estate controversy; initially the story was then exposed by Mandy Roussow . However the story was declared officially only after amaBhungane  requested information  from the Department of Public Works under the PAIA . The release of over 12 000 pages of documented data obtained by amaBhungane, meant that journalists had to sift through the yucky chunks of Zuma’s dirty laundry in order to find the juicy and mouth-watering bits at the bottom.  Had the media simply released all the information like this…

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Or like this…

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Nobody would have bothered to read it, in fact you probably scanned all of that or didn’t even bother to read it at all . Look at it like this; it would be like the media forcing a new-born baby to eat solid food 12 hours after being born, the new-born baby being the consumers of course just isn’t ready. Too soon, media consumers cannot digest concentrated chunks of data yet because it is a powerful thing. This is why digital software tools such as OutWit and GoogleRefine make it easy for journalists to gather organised online data in order to dig deeper and communicate better.

Yes, DJ is to some extent promoting robojourn but we aren’t exactly living in the stone ages anymore, technology is developing and fast…it’s only fair that we in turn develop ourselves with it too. Data is power, and by data I do not mean megabytes…I mean information. The world is made up of information molecules floating all around you just waiting for you to discover them…

 

 

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