Open letter to South Africa’s students‚ universities and government‚ represented by Minister in the .
WE NEED to avoid the false debate that has ensued after e.tv flighted a news clipping in which two alleged gangsters threatened to cause mayhem during the World Cup.
One false debate is that patriotism demands of journalists to only write positively about their country so as not to paint an unfortunate picture.
The other lie is that journalists must be allowed to write or broadcast anything they wish because the Constitution allows them to do so.
The first argument is a non-starter because asking journalists to alter reality just because it makes the country look bad would be to emasculate our trade.
We therefore reject as setting a bad precedent the subpoenaing of journalists to have them do what is essentially police work.
But freedom of expression is not an unfettered right. As it is been reported ad nauseam, nobody is allowed to shout "fire" in a crowded cinema.
The real debate about the saga is that rights are pitted against responsibilities. In this light, e.tv ought to have exercised better discretion than to allow a bunch of thugs to use their station to threaten mayhem.
It is false to pretend that the story was meant to informcitizens that criminals harbour nefarious plans for the World Cup. We know that Brazilian criminals will want to exploit the situation when thetournament goes to thatcountry in 2014.
It is reports such as these that strengthen the hand of the fascists who will stop at nothing to cynically regulate the media.