Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Of journalists, and corruption….

When a friend of mine sent a scathing SMS castigating a fellow journalist, I was offended. He had advised me to urge my colleague “to go to hell”.

I was offended because I expected more from a lawyer I had grown to respect, I thought he had better skills to deal with it than to splash mud on everyone. He complained of bad faith and malice, demonstrated by a cartoon in the newspaper.

But the core of my friend’s complaint was what he described as chronic corruption within journalism. He felt that the journalists who write or publish negative things are the same ones who queue for handouts.

This is an old saying, has been told over generations. Even the meanest of characters, who can’t even afford to buy a drink for anybody, shout themselves dead when speaking about corrupt journalists.

I am not overly impartial in this, because my opinion has always been- it takes two to be corrupt. Can anyone who gives money or other favors to journalists claim to be righteous?

The main question: do the journalists hold a gun to anyone demanding money?

This question was underscored by the Members of Parliament who claimed the only reason for passing the media bill is because the journalists are corrupt and survive on hand outs.

It was argued that it is fair to pass the controversial media bill that will force journalists to reveal sources,” because journalists are corrupt”. It was even said that journalists are always seen walking to parliament. How right!

The question of corruption is controversial, because the journalists threaten to publish malicious details. But there are other mechanisms for redress can sue or officially complain.