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Menings | Opinion > SeminaarKamer | Seminar Room > Nuusbrief: Vrye Woord

Vrye Woord-nuusbrief – 14.07.2011: Slagofferverslae


2011-07-15

14.07.2011
 

Wikiligni: Slagofferverslae

Wie praat vrylik namens die slagoffers van geweldmisdaad?

Laat WikiLigni jou storie plaas.

Die Nederlanders is bekend vir hulle besonder liberale houding oor spraakvryheid. Vrye Woord het egter onlangs berig dat die dagblad Trouw ’n kompetisie gehad het om te peil wat juis nié in die naam van spraak- en skryfvryheid verwoord behoort te word nie. Xenofobiese aanvalle op immigrante is daar een van die grootste knelpunte.

In Suid-Afrika het rassistiese demagoë soos Julius Malema die kwessie in die brandpunt geplaas met haatspraak, maar terselfdertyd die vraag opgeroep: Wat mag oor die ander sy van die saak gesê word, veral vanuit slagoffers se perspektief? Die onding van “politieke korrektheid” kompliseer dinge verder. Kan dit rasseverhoudinge vertroebel as byvoorbeeld ’n wit slagoffer van swart geweld daaroor praat? Durf hy/sy openhartig vertel wat gebeur het?

Vrye Woord (VW) se standpunt is onomwonde: dit is noodsaaklik om te vertel. In die hof word daar breedvoerig namens die boewe gepraat; wie praat namens die slagoffers? VW wil juis hiervoor ook ’n forum bied. Ons het reeds ’n miniseminaar oor rassisme aangebied. Ontwyking en verswyging kan nie in diens van die waarheid en uiteindelik versoening wees nie. ’n Eerlike relaas deur slagoffers van enige ras kan nie as opsweping beskou word nie.

Een van ons medewerkers, Linette Downes-Webb, se vertelling op die VW-Facebook-blad lees soos ’n gruwelverhaal. Naas haar ander ontberings as misdaadslagoffer is sy in die kop geskiet en vir dood gelaat. Sy het die moed gehad om openhartig daaroor te praat, maar talle slagoffers het dit nie, veral ook omdat hulle vergelding vrees.

In die gesprek op Facebook word daar gevra waarheen slagoffers met hulle eie ervarings kan gaan. VW se onthullingsblad WikiLigni het ten doel om vertroulike inligting te publiseer, met of sonder betrokkenes se name. Alle slagoffers van ernstige misdaad, of diegene met ’n goeie, persoonlike kennis van hulle lotgevalle, word dus genooi om ’n bondige samevatting van die gebeure vir plasing op WikiLigni te gee. Die VW-redaksie sal dan in bepaalde gevalle die skrywers vra om uit te brei. ’n Versameling vertellings in boekvorm kan later oorweeg word.

Bydraes kan direk op VW se Facebook-blad geplaas of aan die redakteur by hermes@absamail.co.za gestuur word. Dui asseblief aan watter inligting vertroulik is. Alle bewerings moet gestaaf kan word. Verdere bespreking kan op Facebook plaasvind, soos in Linette se geval gebeur.

VW-redaksielid Theresa Papenfus se ervarings hier onder is een van die eerste voorbeelde. Op ons Facebook-blad is daar meer inligting en reeds reaksies daarop.

 

Die sokkervierings skop af – met moorde

Theresa Papenfus

Genadiglik was ek en my familie nog nie slagoffers van geweldmisdaad nie, maar een van my medewerkers en haar vriende was. Op bladsy 802 van Pik Botha en sy tyd skryf ek oor die aanval op die oorspronklike uitlegkunstaar van die boek. Elrene Jones is op die eerste dag van die Wêreldbekersokkertoernooi saam met haar lewensmaat en sy vriend deur vyf mans oorval terwyl hulle tuis die sokker gevier en vleis gebraai het. Die boewe het die vriend doodgeskiet, Elrene se lewensmaat in die nek geskiet (hy is verlam en is weke later oorlede) en vir Elrene ook in die skouer en die been geskiet. Terwyl sy op die grond gelê het, het hulle haar verder met die vuiste bygekom (vyf jong mans wat ‘n gewonde, bloeiende, smekende vrou takel) voordat hulle met haar rekenaar (met die bladproewe van die Pik-boek daarop) weg is.

Mense moet inderdaad hieroor praat, en skryf, op die allerminste. Om Julius se rassistiese uitsprake af te lag of te probeer doodswyg, lyk nie vir my sinvol nie. Stilbly gaan niemand baat nie – ons demokrasie allermins.

Toevallig lees ek tans Edmund de Waal se The Hare with Amber Eyes : a Hidden Inheritance. Somshet my oog vasgehaak, omdat dit so ongemaklik bekend wil lyk: “In 1899, the year that the netsuke arrived in Vienna, it was possible for a Deputy in the Reichsrat to make speeches calling for Schussgeld – bounties – for shooting Jews. In Vienna the most outrageous statements were met with a feeling from the assimilated Jews that it was probably best not to make too much fuss.”

Antisemitisme wen veld. “You could hear the echo of demonstrations, of course, with their rants against the ‘plague of Eastern Jews, ... but Iggie remembered that they used to laugh at those …” En: “Not talking about anti-Semitism was possible; not hearing about it was impossible.”

Juju en Manyi lees sulke goed waarskynlik nie. Hulle reken hulle is oorspronklik met hulle insigte. Die probleem is, ander dink ook hulle is oulik. In die Mail & Guardian van 4 Maart (“Manyi is not alone in his racism”) skryf Jonathan Jansen oor Manyi se antibruin uitsprake: “The fact that the man is protected by so-called black (read ‘racial African’) lobbies and receives a light, laughing tap on the wrist from powerful political parties tells you that Manyi-type thinking enjoys considerable support among the elites …”

Mens moet seker nie alarmisties wees nie. Maar ek stem vir ordentlike lawaai wat die regte ore bereik.

*

News of the World 'n slag vir media-selfregulering

Herman Toerien

Vir mediavryheid in Suid-Afrika kon die meeluisterskandaal van die Britse News of the World kwalik op ‘n slegter tyd gekom het.

Hoewel ontken word dat die nuwe inisiatief van verskeie belangrike medialiggame in Suid-Afrika om ‘n basis vir behoorlike selfregulering te vind, saamval met planne van die Suid-Afrikaanse regering om die media en die reg tot inligting te beperk, is die tydsberekening tog belangrik. By dié geleentheid van die aankondiging het oudhoofregter Pius Langa hom ook ten gunste van selfregulering uitgespreek.

Die laaste ding wat die Suid-Afrikaanse demokrasie nou nodig gehad het, is ‘n insident soos die meeluisterskandaal van die News of the World.

Nie net is die konsep van selfregulering hiermee in Brittanje effektief nek omgedraai nie, maar in verskeie Europese lande is die gety sterk daarteen gedraai.

Vir die lande van veral Noord-Europa wat hoog op die lys van die mees persvrye lande is, en ‘n groot groep saam in die eerste plek saamkoek, sal die Britse blaps waarskynlik in die praktyk min negatiewe gevolge inhou. Vir lande soos Italië, waar die bejaarde premier superman in die bed is, maar volgens homself te oud is vir nog ‘n termyn, kan sake baie anders lyk. Italië deel die 49ste posisie op Verslaggewers sonder Grense se persvryheidsindeks met Burkina Faso, heelwat swakker daaraan toe as Suid-Afrika met sy 38ste posisie. Suid-Afrika is egter op sy beurt maar die 5de mees persvrye land in Afrika.

Die wegdoen van selfregulering beteken gelukkig in Europa nie die staat neem die rol oor nie. Die model wat voorgehou word, is ‘n onafhanklike liggaam waarin die staat en media ewe min invloed uitoefen. Gegewe die wyse waarop veronderstelde onafhanklike liggame, soos die SABC-raad hier, deur die politici gekaap word, moet Suid-Afrikaners baie skrikkerig wees vir ‘n soortgelyke model hier te lande.

Dit was al lank duidelik dat die media baie versigtig moet wees oor die persepsie wat die publiek van hulle vorm. Voor die aanbreek van die wêreldwye ekonomiese krisis was daar ‘n Europese veldtog om moraliteit by die politici en media te probeer herstel, ‘n duidelik reaksie op die persepsie dat dié twee beroepe die laagste vlakke van moraliteit oplewer. Die ekonomiese krisis, wat vir baie koerante ‘n oorlewingstryd beteken het, het die aandag weggelei. Dit het ook baie gehelp dat die media, in besonder in Ysland, so hard gedelf het om die rol van inhalige bankbase in die krisis aan die dag te lê.

Dit het pas aan die lig gekom dat City Press syfers het wat daarop dui dat minder as 20 persent van die publiek vertroue in die media het. Hoe groot die rol is wat die regering se periodieke aanvalle op die media hierin speel, sal waarskynlik eers later sigbaar wees.

Die media is, soos selfs die demokrasie, nie perfek nie. Soos die politieke-wetenskaplike wysheid lui: die demokrasie is nie ‘n volmaakte model nie, maar die beste wat ons het. Een van die beste waarborge vir die beter funksionering van ‘n demokrasie is mediavryheid.

Waarnemers gebruik reeds ontstellende terminologie om die vlakke van korrupsie in Suid-Afrika te beskryf, en die stelling “Korrupsie het endemies geword” is nie vreemd nie. Korrupsie bedreig nie net demokrasie nie, maar die land as funksionele entiteit.
Mediavryheid is die beste waarborg teen korrupsie. Dit is daarom belangrik dat die media in Suid-Afrika selfregulering gegun word.

 

“Limiting media freedom will ultimately hurt SA government” - William Bird

Mandy de Waal

The Daily Maverick

By now, government’s pre-election (and ill-disguised) softening towards the media is pure history. The media appeals tribunal is back on the Parliamentary agenda as Jimmy Manyi and the ANCYL go to war against the media. But as the two increasingly seem hellbent on going from bad to worse, the spectre of a no-win conflict looms ever greater.
The head of Media Monitoring Africa, William Bird, warns we should not be surprised by the return of the media appeals tribunal. “At Polokwane it was very clear there would be Parliamentary hearings about the idea. What has caused confusion are the different government spokespeople contradicting one another about the tribunal.

“There was a fragile truce with the media in the run up to the elections, but then we saw the very unfortunate position put forward by Gwede Mantashe who said the biggest opposition in the elections was the media.” Bird says this gross generalisation is indicative of the stance the ANC and government have toward the media.

“First, we were led to believe the tribunal would be shelved and during the elections there was a softening towards the media, but now we are seeing a more hardline and extremist approach towards the press.” This was evidenced by government spokesman Jimmy Manyi, who this week criticised the media on a live radio talkshow for what he called its ‘aggression’ toward government and for its ‘cartel-like tendencies’.”

A strident Manyi said to host John Robbie: “The print media is worse in this. You can look at all of them, there is almost a common thread right throughout. It is this story and that story, and it is all about some kind of attack on government. I should be asking this thing, why is media so hostile to government? This is a government, by the way, that has fought for this media freedom. This is a government that understands freedom of expression. This is a government that respects the constitution.”

Manyi’s on-air attack on Sanef chairman Mondli Makhanya was quickly supported by the ANC Youth League: “We support Cde Jimmy Manyi in his efforts to engage on a balance of truths as opposed to being a subject of the Fourth Estate, one which should forever be committed to unbiased reporting, objective truth based on fact and not personal hatred against the government led by the ANC,” a release read. “These notorious tendencies are unwelcomed [sic] and we will never allow ourselves to be slaves of media prejudice, discrimination and victimisation that remains an extension of attempted re-emergence of apartheid.”

The ruling party's onslaught against the press continues despite the media’s support of democracy, the Constitution and government’s development mandate. “If you look at the UK and the US, they have media outlets that are clearly and very vocally opposed to the political leadership of the country. In South Africa the editorial positions overwhelmingly support the objectives of the government and the Constitution,” says Bird. “During the elections we saw the clear support of democracy and editorial positions from the press that pushed people to vote and build our democracy.”

But, he says, the media is not without its problems. “There are problems with quality in the media, but saying the way to deal with these problems is by limiting media freedoms together with freedom (of access) to information, is a ridiculous response. The minute you travel this path, you go down the same path as the National Party which limited access to information. It is both a short-sighted and idiotic approach,” he says.

Like so many media commentators before him, Bird warns curtailing media freedoms would be bad for investment, but more so for the functioning of democracy. “If you look at the service delivery protests, these insurrections are about people’s voices not being heard and it is about being denied basic access to information.”

The attacks on the media do not come from a position of strength, and Bird says this is indicative of a leadership that lacks courage and has much to hide. “By limiting information freedom there may be a decrease of reporting that exposes the corrupt and ministers who aren’t doing their job. However, peoples’ lived realities will show them the truth and the propaganda will appear less believable.”

The problem with this, says Bird, is that when government does good work, does deliver or contributes to the growth of society, people will be less inclined to believe it. “If you limit information, you work against the good that is being done as well because it undermines the credibility of the message and leads to a breakdown in the contract of trust between government and its constituency.”

The minute people don’t believe they are getting the full story and their lived experience is consistently and markedly different from what government says, this creates the potential for the ticking time bomb that is mass frustration and malcontent. “Research already shows there is a low level of trust in Parliament. When the state becomes more closed, it puts people in a default position where they doubt rather than trust that which is said by government. It is short-sighted in that the ANC and government are creating an enemy of themselves. They are the silver bullet of their own defeat.”

When people stop trusting government, it could lead to more stand-offs and mass mobilisation as has seen in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Syria. But information from Idasa suggests the possibility of a darker, less-empowered route. Idasa says the link between poverty and democracy is clear and material hardship limits participation in democratic processes.

In “Testing Democracy: Which Way is South Africa Going?” Idasa’s Neeta Misra-Dexter and Judith February write that there is evidence to suggest that poverty, inequality, lack of economic growth and poorly distributed growth inhibit the exercise of democratic rights. “This has negative consequences for the quality of democracy and Idasa goes as far as to say that studies show these inequalities fuel support for ‘populism, personalism, human rights abuses and the acceptance of authoritarian rule’.” DM

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