Sunday 18 May 2008

Letter to the Editor: Attacks on Foreign Nationals

Dear Editor

The Sunday Times has failed the people. At a time in our nation's history when the glorious promise of democracy and freedom of the 1994 elections is under its most severe threat, the Sunday Times chooses to headline an irrelevant story about triplets from two different fathers. In essence, this is nothing but an age-old story about infidelity; a trivial human frailty compared to the far greater evil of xenophobia. Yet the potential genocide against foreign nationals, hanging like a dark pall over our country after a week of violent attacks, was relegated to a small secondary headline.

Journalists and the media have an immense power: look at the effectiveness of the propaganda machines of the Nazi era, the apartheid era and the Bush era in using the press to shape people's beliefs, attitudes and choices. What has happened to the Sunday Times that, at a critical moment in the development of our country's soul, sensationalistic journalism wins over ethical journalism?

We, as a nation, have the capacity for greatness, on both the continental and the world stage. And yet we are poised on the edge of an evil far greater than any perpetrated in the past: if the horrors of xenophobia are not eradicated; if the people think that - having been victims of apartheid they could never (no, never!) commit the same kind of evil - let us remember Rwanda and other African countries, including Zimbabwe.

Let the media be the voice of justice for those who cannot speak for themselves. Let the media be our conscience. Let the media show us by its actions that freedom comes with responsibilities. But, please, don't let the media waste my time and money on headline stories that do nothing towards building a better South Africa.

1 comment:

Fiction Junky said...

Congrats, I see the Sunday Times had the guts to post this. I am still a lot more pessimistic about general human nature than you, so sadly, it made sense to me that they would use sensationalism above real journalism.

I'm pretty sure the gossip rags outsell any decent magazines by a mile...