The media’s annus horribilis

January 19, 2016

On the media front, 2015 was an annus horribilis. The biased reporting on the history-changing developments in the Middle East reached a crescendo in the national and international press.

The strange silence on the massive persecution and murder of Christians in Syria and Iraq has still to be explained. Christian women are targeted and made sex slaves for ISIS fighters. If they refuse to be degraded in such a monstrous way, they are killed. Their husbands are killed anyway. The media either chooses not to report the atrocities or report it cursorily. Could somebody in the press circles explain this phenomenon? What happened to fearless factual reporting? It seems that social media has become more effective than the mainstream media.

Reporting of the Israel-Palestinian conflict in the mainstream media is often of such a nature that it can be regarded as a tragic comedy. When Israeli civilians were stabbed by a Palestinian teenager, the incident was reported with the headline: “Palestinian boy killed by IDF.” I can name many more examples, but suffice to say that the disingenuous manner of reporting has made the media complicit in fanning the flames of hatred in a very complicated situation.

Early December, some newspapers in South Africa reported on their front pages that an arrest warrant was issued by the Prosecuting Authorities for the arrest of senior Israeli military officers if they would visit South Africa. That proved not to be true. The Media Review Network went crazy and posted the information repeatedly on social media – and again fanning the flames.

During 2015, I became frustrated many times when the media refused to publish articles or letters of mine – with verifiable facts, but chose to publish articles and letters clearly based on propaganda. Was I surprised? No, but disappointed in the media for allowing a public platform to be used by people with personal agendas and radical ideologies. I can even live with that if the media keeps a healthy balance and practices freedom of speech in an unbiased way.

What is the agenda of the media other than reporting the facts, or other than selling papers to make it a viable business? Whatever it is, the media has a duty to report with integrity.

May we experience in 2016 a year of unbiased factual reporting driven by integrity.