WHY I BECAME A JOURNALIST

I think journalists are custodians of the Truth. Tell the truth and shame the devil.

It is for this reason, and none other, that the public places so much Trust in them.

As trusted selfless servants of society, journalists have no other business than to write freely, without fear or favor, according to conscience.

It is the Truth or nothing.

I have tried to my level best to do that. It is one of the hardest things to do.

Writing or disseminating information for any other purpose, including profit-making or pleasing mysterious bosses or political factions, is betrayal of the people’s trust.

I think journalism of any kind must rest on four pillars of FACT: the writiting must be Factual. Journalists must, at all times, treat facts as sacred.

The writing must, first, be Fair and Factual.

It be Accurate.

It must be Correct.

Above all, the writing must be Truthful.

I think clear knowledge and skill in the language of choice and communication is a prerequisite.

Without unquestionable training, clear understanding and fluent speech in the language, there could be confusion between what a journalist writes or says and what they mean.

Clear writing must and will always be preceded by clear thought. We know that critical thinking is one of the hardest things to do.

It will not be enough for a journalist to write what is true.

For the writing to be true, it must be aligned with Constitutional ideals and principles to create a just and equal society.

It must raise and address, land dispossession, economic inequality, lack of social solidarity including racism, patriarchy and sexism.

In an unjust and unequal society like South Africa, a journalist should take pride in that their writing are what they, too, know to be intuitively connected to the truth and thus contributes to creating a better life for all.

I think some journalists are, wittingly or unwittingly, used as pawns by business moguls and other stakeholders with nefarious agendas.

In fact, there are far too many journalists who are useful fools and tools in the name of earning a living. They pursue hidden agendas.

The chief aim of these embedded journalists is to promote, protect and preserve a supremacist, patriarchal and exploitative capitalist system.

Also, they increasing political factions.

Not surprisingly, such journalists are often handpicked and most likely to rise fast in the ranks to become columnists and editors.

As soon as they have been coopted and confirmed, they become part of the corporate system and are further lured into the higher ranks of management to raise more profits.

Unavoidably, this leads to the marginalization and suppression of journalists whose views and writings are considered a threat to the economic system.

I was a victim of such machinations where I was considered ‘uncontrollable and predictable.’ I was constructively dismissed from the media and ended up in government.

No regrets. Things always happen for a reason even if you dont understand that at the time.

For many ostracised journalists, this has resulted in the abuse of alcohol, sexual promiscuity, collapse of private lives and, worse, premature death of journalists who have been made to feel like failures in life.

The suppression of dissenting views or perspectives that challenge the status quo is indefensible in journalism.

In fact, freedom of the media and self expression can only be promoted by protecting the rights of those journalists that disagree with widely held views.

For example, journalists must lead the discussion on whether Africans are true or not. They must grapple with thebidea of freedom andbwhat it means in an unequal society.

Diversity of opinion and controversial views is the nucleus of democracy.

I think it is not necessary for a journalist to hold rigid views or to affiliate with any political organization.

A journalist should be intellectually flexible to write for or against any creed.

Whatever position a journalist adopts at any particular moment, it should be to promote diversity of thought and to enhance tolerance for dissenting views.

A journalist must be open minded and receptive to all ideas.

Above all, a journalist must not believe in anything.

I think a journalist who works in the trade to make money or to secure a position and rank as a VIP is a disgrace to the sector.

Wearing expensive suits and driving posh cars is not a measure of a good journalists.

A materialist journalist is vulnerable and is at a risk of being bribed.

Perhaps there is only one political cause that journalists should, if they must, pledge commitment to: to write the Truth, without fear or favour, to promote and preserve a healthy democracy based on justice and equality for all.

After all, it is media that helps ordinary folks to imagine a new society. What the average man knows is what they read or see in the media.

Well, lets admit that what most black people is writen by white people. So what blacks think about themselves is largely based on qhite opinion.

Should this be a problem? Who defines the image of South Africa and the meaning of developments there? Whose interests does it serve?

I think Steve Biko, who very few recognize was a community newspaper columnist, was correct when he said: “to understand me correctly, you must say there was NO FEAR EXPRESSED.”

It is this kind of self-sacrifice and selfless attitude in the service of society that takes journalism to its highest purpose.

Journalists that do that, irrespective of whether they win awards or not, are the measure of success.

They fear no man or woman, irrespective of his rank, position or power. No .an is God, not even a President of a country.

A lot has been said about independence and impartiality in the media. What this means is journalism that is uncompromising in its commitment to the Truth.

If there is to be a new struggle, journalists must always be guerillas in pursuit of justice and equality to create a brighter future for all.

We do not judge African progress by the number of black CEOs or government ministers. What have they done for the poorest of the poor? How much do they pay the cleaner and tea girl?

Journalists must stay unmoved by money, prizes or power. They should refuse to be defined by what others – especially corporate top dogs or government apparatchiks – think of them.

Journalists live to serve the best interests of society. They always must respect people as human beings created in the image and likeness of the Creator.

Journalists, essentially, are a patriotic lot that must not be swayed by money and what it can buy.

They stand for liberty, equality, justice and, above all, Truth.

This, for me, is the essence of journalism that is truthful, a truth that is for liberating humanity, recreating a humanity for God

It is a pity that I was fired for trying to live up to this ideal. I was not the first nor was I the last.

Sadly, nobody spoke up for me.

I love writing more than journalism.

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