Following the arrest of Mzilikazi wa Afrika, Sipho Ngcobo, Sunday Times investigative journalist and former deputy editor of Business Report, reflects on what he says was a “frightening” week for journalists in South Africa.
South African media are currently battling the Protection of Information Bill, which according to Ngcobo is fuelling fears the government will be able to “clampdown and muzzle media”.
There is virtually no real clarity as what Mzilikazi wa Afrika was arrested for. But we worry, I worry about him. I worry about the profession and the business of media. I am worried sick about the future of the industry.
But, he adds, the growth in poor quality journalism does warrant improved regulation of the media, or else reporters should prepare for the “death” of the industry.
I cannot say I am totally surprised by the proposed Bill. There has been a lot of shoddy journalism taking place. Some of it has been outright criminal, extremely libellous, demeaning to individuals and families and even contemptuous to the courts. It has been so bad that I have often wondered what the future holds.