Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Spooky Snuki

One of the cool things about manning the newsdesk in a busy newsroom is that you get to check out all the incoming stories first.
On occasion it's a gobsmacking experience. Of course it's part of the job to double check with the reporter who wrote the copy when you have doubts. But generally it's true and we get to read it first.
Today's big story was a judge's finding that SABC, our public broadcaster, manipulated our news during 2005 and 2006.
It seems that the man who was head of SABC news at that time, Snuki Zikalala, was quite an active force behind what all went down.
According to the evidence, Snuki went to Zimbabwe in 2005 to negotiate the terms on which SABC reporters would cover the Zim elections and decided that they would be allowed in only two days before the election - so no coverage of campaigning (or intimidation and violence) before the time.
While he was in Zimbabwe he apparently “had no problem ordering fresh bread rolls, bottled water and whisky” from room service and so he dismissed all reports of food shortages in the country.
This would be completely hysterical if it weren't for the fact that these actions completely shaped the news we were fed by our national broadcaster at that time.
He was most famous for blacklisting a whole string of political commentators and analysts whose view didn't suit his own, a cover-up that exploded a while back.
It's sad to hear how one man did so much to manipulate news. And then, when contacted for comment now that all his laundry is hanging out in the open air, he slinks away claiming he can't say anything because he hasn't seen the judgement.

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