Home Opinion and Features The media has no business taking sides

The media has no business taking sides

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In this kind of period, the media needs to be responsible by sticking to basic tenets of journalism of fairness, truth, balance and objectivity.

File picture: Flickr

AS the general elections loom large, campaigning for political power will go into overdrive and is set to have a significant impact on our body politic and the media, among other important institutions.

Customarily, politicians are going to make all sorts of promises to voters in order to be elected into political office.

The media is going to be, perhaps, one of the most contested platforms that political formations will want to use to transport their campaign messages.

Often, this period is called the silly season – a time when all sorts of fights among parties and leaders will break out and mudslinging will be the order of the day.

There is a lot at stake in next year’s elections. The EFF and DA are pushing hard to dislodge the ANC from power, if not reduce its majority to below 50%.

This is the context within which we as the media, the Fourth Estate, enter this ferocious fight for power.

The elections come amid an emotive debate on land expropriation without compensation, the rising cost of living, unemployment, poverty and inequality.

We are at a low ebb with regard to racial relations.

In this kind of period, the media needs to be responsible by sticking to basic tenets of journalism of fairness, truth, balance and objectivity.

Newsrooms have no business in taking sides in the fights between politicians, including the one between Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan and EFF leader Julius Malema.

Neither do newsrooms have any business in taking sides in the debates on land and other critical issues.

Ours is to reflect both sides of the story, be balanced, fair and constructive in our approach.

There is an emerging trend among colleagues who have taken clear sides in the debates leading to the elections. The effect of this has been to divide the nation on the lines of race, religion and gender.

Journalists will have to be wary of this silly season of elections, for ours is the pursuit of the truth, balance, accuracy and fairness.