Banning media from cricket games is costly for CSA

While Cricket South Africa chief executive Thabang Moroe moved to dismiss any suggestion of acrimony, the revoking of media accreditations for a tournament as mundane as the Mzansi Super League because of how they've been portrayed in certain media outlets is a thinly veiled declaration of war, the writer says.
While Cricket South Africa chief executive Thabang Moroe moved to dismiss any suggestion of acrimony, the revoking of media accreditations for a tournament as mundane as the Mzansi Super League because of how they've been portrayed in certain media outlets is a thinly veiled declaration of war, the writer says.
Image: Sydney Mahlangu/ BackpagePix

Let's not get this twisted, Cricket South Africa shot itself in the foot and bowled the mother of all no-balls when it decided to revoke the accreditations of five journalists on Sunday.

It's censorship of the highest order and, honestly, crass stupidity from an organisation that can ill afford to start a war with the media.

The fact that CSA were summoned to a meeting by sponsors on Monday afternoon highlights the gravity of this situation. No clear-thinking sponsor wants to be attached to a brand/ organisation that's at loggerheads with scribes. That's bad for business.

There are some questions for CSA:

  • Why did they decide on this course of action?
  • Who on earth decided on this course of action?
  • Aren't their skins thick enough to handle criticism?

Either way, it was a misinformed, and now rather costly way of dealing with a matter that could have been resolved if the powers that be at Melrose Estate had done their due diligence in terms of recourse from a press ombudsman perspective.

In a radio interview, CSA chief executive Thabang Moroe said they don't want to fight the media. However, the revoking of accreditations for a tournament as mundane as the Mzansi Super League because of how they've been portrayed in certain media outlets is a thinly veiled declaration of war.

While some media houses don't subscribe to the ombudsman process, there are channels that CSA can pursue if they feel their dignity was impaired or they haven't been given the right of reply.

As journalists, it's mandatory to give individuals and organisations right of reply when they are mentioned in stories. This is SA, not some one-party state or tin-pot
dictatorship where the media marches to the beat of the ruling class.

Being CEO of a struggling entity isn't easy and when the ship sails into the storm there's an expectation placed on the captain to navigate the vessel into calmer waters.

The issue here is straightforward: CSA are being buffeted by winds of maladministration and a chronic inability to make critical decisions.

The director of cricket, a position that will determine the path of the national team, wasn't filled as per the December 1 deadline, while the end of October was the first deadline to find suitable candidates.

The coaching restructuring process was announced in August. Between then and now, England, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh have already found their post-World Cup coaches. Someone's sleeping at the wheel.

The candidate for director of cricket should have started in the position with the view to preparing the team for the England series this month.

Remember, this same individual also has to appoint a team director (the coach), the assistants, the convenor of selectors and the selectors.

The rest of the medical and logistics crew that make up the back-room staff of the team will also be appointed by the director of cricket.

These structures are of an interim nature at present and, as we saw in the India series, they're not what's required at the moment.

The Boxing Day Test against England at SuperSport Park in Centurion will take place later this month and there's a set of franchise First-Class games that will take place the week before that.

Which selectors will be running the rule over the form players?

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