Insights and Reflections By:
Activator Zilungile Athenjwa Zimela
Duke International Menell Media Exchange was established 17 years ago by Clive Menell to advance ethics and promote the practices of true journalism. This year, the exchange has invited media personnel and emerging media practitioners to speak about the “Truth & Trust” in what we read and listen to and how media is instrumental in the process of giving a true account of the news. “We write what people expect of us but we don’t expect to go home to be violated by those who disagree,” sited NEWS 24‘s Mahlatse Gallens.
The Menell Media Exchange is about the proposition of truth and trust so that citizens can make informed and responsible decisions based on facts that are not filtered to up ease the interests of the few and powerful while disenfranchising the vulnerable and honest. “Actions based-journalism is journalism that finds solutions to problems and does not create them, it is a more accurate version of the story while defusing the advent of fake news and negative reporting,” explained one of South Africa’s seasoned greats -Krivani Pillay – SA FM. Through the intentional invitation of media persons or colleagues as were fondly referred to, we were carefully envisaged with the intention of being useful in the plight to tackle the greatest issues the journalism and media world is facing today. Solutions based- journalism is currently paving the way to arriving at a destination that reminisces on the age old way of telling the story without rushing or fabricating the truth to serve certain interests that are at best serving the interests of those with either more powerful political affiliations or with long pockets that harbour pots of gold.
After the entertainment of the opening speaker, the Duke Menell Media Exchange was well on its way to kick-starting Day 2 with an emotional and provocative address from eloquent ANC MP, Dr. Makhosi Khoza, who spoke stirringly about the truth that our leaders today are lacking and the trust the general public is slowly losing. “At every turn, our leaders are breaking our morality” and “I’m a black woman; I’m a product of history.” Dr Makhosi Khoza on crisis, conviction and courage. The media exchange is an unmissable event for every media practitioner who is concerned about the moral signature of South Africa today. It has been well-orchestrated in a manner that celebrates the legends in the industry, the challenges they faced over the years and the lessons coupled with wisdom they now possess to pass on to the “new school digital journos”.
Mapping media’s new terrain is the tagline under which the “Truth & Trust” theme was set under, and how fitting a title for such a time as this in South Africa media climate? This year’s theme seeks to outline and workshop ideas on how leaders and media personnel can contribute to the reshaping of the face of media and true journalism without undermining truth and compromising trust. What young people can take away from the exchange is the honest insights shared by the legends of the industry, the credible advice that was shared, and the level of strength that our thought leaders and journalists each have, irrespective of the challenges that they have over the years faced.
There has never been a more befitting time to fight for what is right as is now, to stand for the truth in a world that criticises and dilutes honesty and replaces it with digital attachments which are at times detrimental to the rendition of the true account of the story.