If you feel a news story does not measure up to expected journalistic standards, bring it to the Journalism Dry Cleaner. Through our collective wisdom, we will strip it of all offensive dirt.




Friday, 23 April 2010


Something unusual has happened in the UK media terrain. One proprietor of a global chain of media outlets has deem it fit to challenge a rival newspaper's content by confronting the editor as he worked in the newsroom.

James Murdoch, the chief executive of News Corporation Europe and Asia, and son of media mogul Rupert Murdoch, marched into the rival Independent newspaper's newsroom unannounced, and gave its astounded editor-in-chief a surprise dress down.

James did not take kindly to a media campaign being run by the Independent, telling its readers that they would decide the outcome of the UK elections and not Rupert Murdoch. The son obviously felt the campaign slighted his family.

The UK press is however awash with other conspiracy theories, some surrounding the impending polls and which paper is supporting which party or whether or not other media firms should follow News Corp's decision to put up a paywall and charge for access to its online titles like The Times.

I just can't help but be amazed at the way the rich not only have doors open to them but can also forcefully pry closed doors, whereas the poor or less fortunate don't even get the chance to knock on the same doors.

How many people, I wonder aloud, have been aggrieved by what is published in the newspapers and are totally defenceless and without any avenue for recourse, whereas tycoons like James Murdoch breeze past all security checks and get to vent their anger or frustration at the offending paper's top management?

This is not an admission that the media is not fair and neither is it a confirmation that the media is infallible. Just an affirmation of how inequalities still, will continue to rule over mankind.

Thursday, 15 April 2010


This experience of Africa 360 current affairs TV programme host in South Africa brings to the fore the intricate matter of managing hostile studio guests. Clearly, things can get out of hand.

Typical perhaps of all hard-line politicians, Andre Visagie, the Secretary General of the white supremacist Afrikaner outfit AWB, sought to forcefully defend his views, irrespective of whether they were fair comment, on the explosive race relation subject.

And the political commentator Lebohang Pheko was unrelenting in her push to pin down the visibly agitated Visagie, stressing that his argument was out of line.

And caught in between is the host Chris Maroleng, momentarily reduced to a spectator before the dramatic transition of the debate into an outburst, walkout and threats.

Ideally, the programme host should act as a moderator, constantly watching out for rising temperatures and actively seeking to cool down the tempers in timely interjections.

When the host is not in control, anything goes. Chris should have noticed the besieged Vasigie showing signs of turning violent and perhaps change the subject by asking a different question.

The lesson to me here, plainly speaking, is that a programme host cannot afford to be passive, especially in an explosive debate but should instead steer the discussion proactively but not in a reactionary manner.

And yes. It may be desirable for the media to seek to be all inclusive and accommodative to divergent views. But that in essence, is also inviting insensitive or intolerable views, in the name of safeguarding the freedom of expression.

Thursday, 8 April 2010


"How many Muslims have you killed?"
That question sets the tone for a news feature in  ITV 4, conveniently titled 'Nigeria's Killing Fields,'  in order, in my opinion, to whet the interest of a British audience still obsessed with the idea of Africa being a dark, savage continent.

The reporter in this 'Unreported World' episode, Peter Oborne, turns an opportunity to shed light into the rampant sectarian violence, pitting Christians and Muslims in the Nigerian Plateau State capital, into a debased insight into the skirmishes, devoid of meaningful journalistic value.

He delights apparently in having a Muslim and Christian leader engage in a shouting match in front of the camera and at best just becomes a passive spectator instead of trying to put the Jos conflict into perspective, with a view to suggesting a way to resolve it.

The way the reporter seemingly gets carried away by the sickening thrill of highlighting the alleged evidence of the killings is simply appalling.

And on being told that 30 bodies of young children could have been thrown into a sewer, the celebrated journalist Peter Oborne, reports this as a matter of fact, without any further verification process.

The Channel 4 website claims their team uncovered, 'the truth about the convulsion of barbarism.' More like the barbarism of biased reportage if you ask me.