16 May 2018

South Africa: Media 24 an Epitome of Poor Journalism

press release

The South African Municipal Workers' Union (SAMWU) is yet again disappointed at shoddy journalism by members of the Media 24 group, one of the largest media groups in the country whom one would assume they are credible however the opposite is the truth.

A few weeks ago City Press, owned by Media 24 concocted and manufactured fake news about the union and VBS bank. Today we learn of another incident, this time by News 24, also owned by Media 24 that the union is failing to pay rent, telephone lines and pay its website. What the journalist, Amanda Khoza fails to mention in this latest unwarranted vile attack on the union is which offices is she referring to which have not been paid.

Amanda Khoza also alleges that the telephone lines has also not been paid however further proceeds to report that she called the numbers and there was no answer. Logically when a person calls and there is no response on the other line, that person leaves a message yet in Amanda Khoza's farfetched imagination, phones rigging without an answer means that services have been disconnected due to nonpayment. The reality of the matter is that our telephone lines are operational and Khoza's call could not be answered as there was an urgent staff meeting yesterday.

Khoza further reports that the union website is down as a result of nonpayment. What is worrying to us and also an indication of poor journalism is that Khoza ha not bothered to get comment from the union's General Secretary, his deputy or the Spokesperson as they would have clarified any queries which she may have had. Had Khoza bothered to contact these people they would have told her that the union's new website is under construction and should be launched in less than a week.

In a clear sign of sheer determination to tarnish the image of the union, Khoza further reports that individuals have been expelled in by union because they have demanded a forensic audit of the union's finances. If Khoza was a serious journalist whose judgment is not clouded by motive, she would have asked the union's secretariat on reasons leading to suspensions and expulsions from the union. She would have been clarified that it is these National Office Bearers who actually championed the forensic audit leading to the appointment of Ernst and Young. She would have also been told that the forensic audit is nearing completion and once that is done, a report will be presented to the union's Central Executive Committee by the forensic auditors.

To further show the poor effort which has gone in concocting this story, Khoza has recycled the City Press articles about the union and VBS and presented it as though its new facts or a new story all together. This despite the fact that the union had clarified this issue with City Press and the public in general.

We are mostly concerned by the tittle which Khoza had decided on in this attack of hers. She claims that the union is in a state of paralysis. Our understanding of paralysis or a paralyzed organization is an organization which is unable to function. For her selfish reasons Khoza does not take into account the fact that the union has been actively engaged in salary and wage negotiations with the employer body (SALGA) in the interest of our members. How would a paralyses organization be actively be involved in issues which directly affect their members?

We are however not deterred by journalists who giving a bad name to the media profession which played a huge role in uncovering and exposing the sins of apartheid rule in South Africa. Today they are primarily preoccupied with sensationalist headlines and selling copies regardless of the damage which they do.

Ours is to champion the interest of our members, put them first in these salary and wage negotiations even in the midst of these character assassinations.

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