Faizel Patel, Radio Islam News - 2013-06-26
While former President Nelson Mandela remains in a critical condition at the Pretoria Heart Hospital, is the insatiable appetite for breaking news driving the media to scavenge for every bit of information about dear Tata Madiba?
Should we as a country not show compassion to an old man who spent 27 years of his life fighting for our freedom and allow him the dignity to depart this world gracefully?
Tata Madiba played his part. Should South Africa and world chorus in one voice and say, “Let Madiba go?”
Political analyst Karima Brown told Radio Islam that from a governments side Presidential spokesperson Mac Maharaj has been trying to give much more regular updates. However Brown maintains that medical results are confidential, they are private and the South African media needs to respect that.
Brown emphasizes that if one views the roles of the media there is a distinctive difference in the way the local and international media have reported on the story.
“I think the South African media to a large extent have been more aware, more cognissant of the sensitivity. Precisely because they have to answer and report to a local audience; Whereas sections of the international media of course as we speak have tried to unearth every little detail and feed as much information as possible including the issue around very detailed reportage around the extent of Madiba’s health,” said Brown.
Brown dismissed the myth that South Africa will collapse if Madiba passes away and Afriforums statements that whites should fear for their future. She said that this was an incorrect view because the reality is that for a considerable amount of time now South Africa has been actually functioning without the elder statesman. Brown said that Afriforum fights for group rights and are alarmists in their approach as they fight for the rights of white people; and if they don’t create an alarm, they don’t have a forum or platform.
“He has not been in public, he has not been active in politics for an incredibly long time and South African have gone on with their lives, gone on with issues around government. Offcourse that is not just to say that we cannot learn from his example,” added Brown.
Brown reiterates that Madiba’s health situation is not a reality TV Show and South Africans should not treat it as such. “Our curiosity, our desire to know, is our desire. But that doesn’t place a public interest responsibility on media to report on that.”
“The intrusive reporting at this stage I believe is far from in the public’s interest. It rather reflects our insatiable need to look at the lives of people particular famous people and well know people in a way that is gratuitous,” added Brown.
South Africans in general want to hold on to the legacy of Madiba for as long as possible because he is such a remarkable person and believe his presence signifies the goodness in all South Africans.
Madiba is an icon. A man who fought for dignity. It beholds us as the South African media to report truthfully on him and his condition but with dignity and integrity.