Congress of the People condemns, in the strongest possible terms, the ongoing attack on the media by President Zuma. At each and every opportunity he launches an attack on the media for not being patriotic and for reporting bad stories about our country.
Yesterday, at the launch of the SABC News channel into Africa, it was no different. He repeated that he had never come across media that was so host…ile as our country’s media.
The COO of SABC parroted the misguided accusations of the President. He chirped in with “our own journalists are always talking bad about our country, they are misleading”. Had it not been for our Constitution he would have proceeded to license journalists and revoke the licences of those who offended his narrow and distorted outlook.
President Zuma shows no appreciation whatsoever for our Constitution and the rights it confers on South Africans. Instead of being the leading champion of the Constitution, he wilfully permits it to be undermined. He does not have the gravitas of Nelson Mandela nor of Oliver Tambo. Instead of standing on their shoulders and seeing more than they did, he stoops low and sees offence instead of marvelling at the freedom of democracy. He is out of kilt with democratic values and the Mandela mission.
President Zuma is searching for ways to gag the media rather than fight corruption and govern ethically and responsively. He must understand that he and his government make the bad stories that the journalists report. President Zuma should lash all those in government who are failing our country to earn positive media. Government must do its work properly and leave the media to do its work untrammelled.
President Zuma wishes he could be a dictator. In his limited understanding, a fawning media establishment is better than a critical one. Without our courts, the Public Protector and a critical media, South Africa would have regressed to the bad old ways of the apartheid state. President Zuma wants to take us backwards.
The Constitution is the supreme law of our country and all who value freedom must accord the media its freedom of expression. The media must not bow to political pressure and sell out the struggle. It must remain independent unlike the SABC that has sold its soul.
The media is the eternal watchdog of society. It must report without fear or favour.
Issued by Dennis Bloem on behalf of COPE, Dennis Bloem is Cope Spokesperson