South Africa: The Media Industry Has a Responsibility to Recognise and Overcome Its Own Biases


We need to free ourselves of perceptions that all deals involving black businesspeople are inherently corrupt. The effect of this would be the unfair criminalisation and prejudice of black business.

"One of the biggest challenges we have to our democracy is the degree to which we don't share a common baseline of facts," former US president Barack Obama said during an appearance on the David Letterman show.

He said Americans were living in a political bubble by personalising their respective media streams -- and people who watched Fox News, for example, were "living on a different planet" from individuals who listen to National Public Radio.

"At a certain point, you just live in a bubble. And that's part of why our politics is so polarised right now. I think it is a solvable problem, but it's one we have to spend a lot of time thinking about," said Obama.

The point he makes is that where and how people source their news reinforces their biases because of the ideological slants of media organisations. This then tends to develop a life of its own on social media platforms.

This is something we in South Africa perhaps do not apply our minds...

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