Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

Mexico is no mentor for SA press, Mr President

Addressing a group of visiting journalism students at Parliament on Tuesday, Zuma said South Africa could benefit from more "patriotic reporting", which he had come across while on a visit to Mexico as deputy president.

Zuma told the group that his delegation had been warned not to go to certain areas because of high crime levels. When he questioned why he had not heard about this in the media, he said he was told that Mexican patriots wanted the country to succeed and so did not "wash [their] dirty laundry in public".

He said the South African media's reporting was so negative that he sometimes felt like fleeing the country.

Patriotism or censorship
Zuma must be unaware that Mexico has been described as one of the world's most dangerous countries for journalists.

Reporters Without Borders describes Mexico as a country where journalists are threatened and murdered by organised crime or corrupt officials with impunity.

"The resulting climate of fear leads to self-censorship and undermines freedom of information," it said.

The organisation said, in the past decade a total of 87 journalists have been killed in the country, while 17 others have disappeared. A further 26 journalists have fled their homes or their country for fear of losing their lives.

Press freedom is so lacking in Mexico that it currently sits at position 153 out of 179 on the Reporters Without Borders' Press Freedom Index, having dropped four places since last year.

South Africa in contrast has a "respectable ranking" of 52nd, even though it dropped 10 positions since last year.

Reporting beyond borders
Zuma may have been unaware of Mexico’s crime problem, but it has not escaped the notice of the international press.

Crime and corruption are globally recognised as among the country's most key concerns.

Last year, a Time magazine report described corruption as "the heart of crime" in the country and one of the foremost challenges facing the incoming president. And the Economist, the New Yorker, the New York Times Magazine, Bloomberg Businessweek, Harper’s Magazine, Slate and the Rolling Stone are just some of the large media organisations, which have dedicated time and resources to get behind the story of Mexico's rampant crime epidemic. While the Pulitzer Crisis Centre has reported extensively on crime and corruption in the country.

"Patriotic reporting", it seems, only goes as far as the border.

Subscribe to the M&G

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them.

Faranaaz Parker
Faranaaz Parker is a reporter for the Mail & Guardian. She writes on everything from pop science to public health, and believes South Africa needs carbon taxes and more raging feminists. When she isn't instagramming pictures of her toddler or obsessively checking her Twitter, she plays third-person shooters on Xbox Live.

Related stories

WELCOME TO YOUR M&G

If you’re reading this, you clearly have great taste

If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to the Mail & Guardian for less than the cost of a cup of coffee a week, and get more great reads.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here

Advertising

Subscribers only

R270m ‘housing heist’ bid deprives people of decent homes

After alleged attempts to loot Eastern Cape housing funds, 39 200 people in the province will continue to live in atrocious conditions

Cabinet reshuffle not on cards yet

There are calls for the president to act against ministers said to be responsible for the state’s slow response to the unrest, but his hands are tied

More top stories

R270m ‘housing heist’ bid deprives people of decent homes

After alleged attempts to loot Eastern Cape housing funds, 39 200 people in the province will continue to live in atrocious conditions

Stolen ammo poses security threat amid failure to protect high-risk...

A Durban depot container with 1.5-million rounds of ammunition may have been targeted, as others in the vicinity were left untouched, say security sources

Sierra Leoneans want a share of mining profits, or they...

The arrival of a Chinese gold mining company in Kono, a diamond-rich district in the east of Sierra Leone, had a devastating impact on the local community, cutting its water supply and threatening farmers’ livelihoods – and their attempts to seek justice have been frustrated at every turn

IEC to ask the courts to postpone local elections

The chairperson of the Electoral Commission of South Africa said the Moseneke inquiry found that the elections would not be free and fair if held in October
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…
×