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, 31 August 2012


It was a brilliant and well-told piece of investigative journalism. But the Sisters of Death went overboard in one aspect. After the shocking expose of how illicit brew was now being laced with ARV's, there was a strong element of leading others, especially the criminally inclined, into temptation.

There is almost always an underlying danger, when the media over enlightens the masses about a vice, to the extent of appearing to glorify the same vice, by elaborately empowering others to execute the very same vice.

So yes. The NTV Investigate piece unearthed the very chilling business of concocting illegal alcoholic drinks, using ARVs and other dangerous ingredients. But a step-by-step depiction of the process involved, I feel, is veering off into dangerous territory.

This is a commercial venture and somebody is making some money, albeit illicitly. There's no telling if any other desperate soul, and those who are out to profit by whichever means, could have been nefariously inspired to carry out a similarly diabolic scheme.

All they needed to do was note down, the ingredients and processes, before applying the same, or making their own equally devastating variations. And in case they missed out on some 'gory' details, there was a repeat of the Sisters of Death, ironically due to popular demand.

An attempt was made to ward off potential legal suits by blurring out the labels of the alcoholic drinks. But sadly, it appears no thought was given to the domino effect of thrusting all the minute details of the harmful trade into the public domain.

Then there is the small 'non journalistic' matter, of wanting to know just how did the reporter manage to convince the Sisters of Death to open up, under the glaring eye of the camera. There was no indication that the expose was filmed undercover.

Who would willingly allow the media to highlight an illegal activity that could well put them on the not so rosy side of the law? Thankful, the press is professionally compelled to protect sources.

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