Saturday, October 30, 2010

Elections 2010: The Press

Ah, the Fourth Estate. Journalists are circling above this election like the vultures of doom that they are. There is a fine line between holding government accountable, and stoking the fires of discontent in the hopes of something explosive to sell papers. This is a line that we regularly cross.

Now, I know that the international press and a number of election observers make their name off conflict- it's a great C.V. builder to state that you were in XYZ country when shit went down. Big hero. Business is business and if Tanzania messes up in this election a lot of opportunists are going to get airtime+fame feeding off the "Yet Another African Failure" story. I understand, BBC World Service stringer, get paid.

But what the hell is up with our internal press? A couple of brave papers have taken flack recently from government for fomenting dissent. It's a badge of honor, that, which not everyone deserves. Hell, only one of the two papers under threat is worth buying. There's a number of other loud-mouthed idiot newspapers that get their circulation from making mountains out of molehills and 'encouraging' a little beef to up their sales. To you I say: may you be reincarnated as that guy who makes coffee for the girl who photocopies and then digitizes The Man's accounting files.

I suppose that insulting the press in its entirety isn't the best way to plead with journalists to be sane tomorrow :) And we do need journalists to function right. But who cares about that, tuwafundishe kazi. This election is seminal, and we shall separate the girls from the women by virtue of their works, and we shall report as citizens with a little help from the internet and mobile phones, and in the aftermath we shall know the newspapers that are still worth buying and those that are not.

It's your country. Vote like you own it.

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