Media Tuesday – hot topics and topics that make us hopping mad! 10 April 2012

Posted: 10 April 2012 | News - Newsletter | Categories: Democracy and Governance, Media Freedom and Performance

On the menu this Media Tuesday:

·         The public protector receives a complaint against SABC’s acting COO;

·         The Star launches its Africa edition; and,

·         The “Road to Mangaung” everywhere we go?

Will the public protector’s investigations change the SABC for the better?

Judging by the ups and downs the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) has had over the last decade or so, there is little surprise that it is in the news again.

Last week, it emerged that “former and current SABC senior staffers lodged a complaint with the public protector against the SABC’s acting chief operations officer, Hlaudi Motsoeneng. The complaint includes serious allegations of maladministration, corruption, SABC board collusion, unprocedural salary increments that shoot up the SABC payroll, and Motsoeneng misrepresenting his academic qualifications.”

We know, from the media reports, that the public protector’s office “confirmed that they received the complaint against Mr Motsoeneng.” We also know that “neither the SABC nor Mr Motsoeneng is aware of the complaint and that the SABC will cooperate with the public protector if they are requested to do so.”

We do not know whether the allegations are true or not. That is for the public protector to determine! But given the SABC’s history, will the public protector’s investigations change the public broadcaster for the better? Will the probe solve the problems bedevilling the public broadcaster? If not, what do you think is the best way forward? What should the board be doing about this matter? Are they doing something about this matter or should they wait for the public protector? Hit us on Facebook and Twitter.

What will be so different about the Star Africa edition?

Last week the Saturday Star reported that it will officially launch its Star Africa edition today (10 April 2011). The Star Africa edition was inspired by the success of the newspaper’s Soweto edition, which despite having a “small team of dedicated reporters,”  witnessed a rise in sales from “600 on launch to 6000 a day now,” the editor said.

The Africa edition will have its own dedicated content editor. The target audience of the edition will be particularly black people with a township background. They decided to call it the Africa edition because “it’s the name of the paper’s old edition for black readers under apartheid. The difference this time is that we’re African by choice, not by law,” the editor further elaborated.

Aside from reaching a generally untapped audience, the Media Matters team welcomes the idea of a new edition as it may mean more information to the public. However, given that those who currently read the Soweto edition indicate that the content is not all that different from the mainstream edition, we have to wonder how different the Africa edition will be? In addition, given the volatile economic condition we are in, will the edition perform as expected? What sort of content would you want to see in the edition? Give us your views on Facebook and Twitter!

Do all roads lead to and end in Mangaung?

It is no coincidence that almost all mainstream media in South Africa , everyday, carry a story on the African National Congress (ANC) in regard to its December elective conference in Mangaung. Even the Daily Sun almost every day carries a story with the inscription: “Road to Mangaung 2012 – ANC Conference.” For those who may not know, the ANC holds its elective conference every five years and the last one was in 2007 in Polokwane, which saw Jacob Zuma voted ANC president.

The ANC elective conferences are always a huge thing because in some way they inform the direction of the country. However, a close look at the mainstream media reports about Mangaung reveals that the media tend to focus on the ANC factions. In other words, the media seem to focus on who is doing what now in order to emerge victorious.

Last week Professor Kupe lamented the mainstream media’s obsession with Malema as blinding media to crucial debates. The same could be said about the media’s coverage of the “road to Mangaung.” Is the media’s obsession with ANC factions blinding the media to crucial debates? Is the media being fair in pitching ANC politicians against each other, or are the politicians doing that for them? Are all the country’s ills going to be solved at Mangaung? Is there a life after Mangaung? If there is, what sort of life would you want to have? Have your say on our Facebook and Twitter pages.