Objectivity - a Myth in Media?
Stunned like one stung by the sting of a bee; was the pitiful pain I endured as I listened to Times of Swaziland Editor-in-chief Martin Dlamini telling the PASA Conference delegates that ‘objectivity is a myth’ in the media.
Was I to a different school of thought, so was that of journalism? Or was am I in the world that no longer told the truth? Seated there in the George Hotel Conference Hall, Manzini Swaziland; I impatiently held my pressure as time ticked on his side.
A pinch of my word bluntly disagreed with him. Objectivity in the media can, has never been, and will never be an allegory. Those who know will tell you that the simplest way to look at objectivity is to seek the truth and tell it fairly. How then, is this a myth? How does talking to the accuser and the accused be a myth? How does saying what you have gotten from your source the way you got it and present it the way you found it; be a myth?
Of course I have seen ne'er-do-wells in the media. Those who sale their journalism souls to the devil himself, just to butter their cup. Does that mean objectivity then is a myth just because of a few spoiled apples in the basket?
I have seen and met gallant men and women pen pushers some of whom have died with badges of honour in the media. How did they do it if objectivity is a myth? Is it because one hasn’t found himself in the spot of free thinking and decision making? Hence believing that the foul food his mother prepares is just like any other food any other mother prepares elsewhere? Like being in Europe where Africa is seen as a country and not continent?
Hasn’t Journalism become so compromised due to the quality or lack it, of the graduates that get into the system now? Those who are today being tutored and lectured by men and women who have never seen the inside of a practical newsroom? The lectures and tutors who went through a pure academic grilling and graduated with straight As; then immediately brought back to the teaching system to teach others without knowing how it is to be a real journalist?
Does therefore this make objectivity a myth?
One can go for as many years as they wish, being trained as journalists; but the anchor of it all, is to be trained to tell the truth fairly. Those who have gone off rail track have derailed themselves and their career path; and not made objectivity a myth.
Haven’t many joined the system as fame seekers and not passionate carriers? With the zeal to make names, haven’t they landed themselves in areas of temptations that easily made them forget who they are got the dangling carrot? Does that then make objectivity a myth?
Isn’t not telling the truth, a personal choice; and not a societal obligation? So is being fair in how this truth is presented?