While the masses are still gobsmacked about the assassination of Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh and how her murder reflects the dangers media practitioners are exposed to in conflict zones like the Middle East and Afghanistan, a lot of others are attacking South African journalists who they believe are not conducting themselves the way journalists should.
Shireen Abu Akleh
Journalists are expected to be courageous and envisage a better world than the one into which they were born. Some of them paid the ultimate price for challenging authoritarian regimes and crime syndicates, whilst others were harassed and accused of being captured simply because they are informing the nation.
Richard Wilkinson has taken to Twitter to drag South African born journalist Redi Thlabi of spending her entire career destroying the image of politicians who fought to make the country a democratic state and a first world country, adding that the same journalist has migrated to another country and boasts about how beautiful life is there.
In response, Thlabi alleges that a former president lied about her at the State Capture Enquiry thereafter her life was threatened and that she was threatened with rape and tire.
According to Thlabi, a South African minister threatened her with a lawsuit and that her colleagues were gossipping about her after she called out uncritical journalism, citing that her life was intimidated when she was living in South Africa hence she migrated to a better country.
Redi was referring to a testimony by former President Jacob Zuma when he appeared at the Zondo Commission and alleged that she was trying to defame him and branding him as a rapist.
Speaking to Eusebius Mckaizer during an interview in July 2019, Thlabi alleged that she has received death threats and also threatened to watch over her children and that people said she deserves the tyre and petrol.
Although Wilkinson did not mention Redi's name in his tweet, the masses already knew that he was referring to her, with some like Helen Zille agreeing with him, adding that many journalists have done this.
Several publications have taken a stand against xenophobia. This is good because of the values of neighbourliness and sharing. Or is it? Well, most articles do not acknowledge that the poor might have credible intelligence about patterns of criminality in their neighbourhoods.
It's bad enough that journalists have to be reminded of the ethics of the profession. Some newspapers are being used not to inform the public but to settle factional political battles.
Journalists should dig a little deeper, and inform news as they are, not choose who to drag and who to save from public shame.
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