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The Media Review Network (MRN) is indeed deeply alarmed at attempts being made to muzzle the free press in our country. As reported in the Jewish Report , the South African Zionist Federation and the South African Jewish Board of Deputies, have endeavored to do just that, when they apparently stormed the office of  Sekunjalo, the owners of the Independent group of Newspapers.

The reason for the visit to the office of CEO of Sekunjalo, Mr. Iqbal Surve’, was to protest IOL’s “biased reporting /opinions/comments”  by the group regarding the occupation of Palestine, the institutionalised apartheid practices and the militarised rule applied in the West Bank and Gaza.

The MRN expresses its dismay at the apparent witch-hunt whereby The STAR and The Cape Times, two newspapers from the group, were singled out.

We are concerned that the attempt by them to censor reports on the human rights violations  by the occupiers of Palestine is tantamount to the “truth”, once considered noble, giving way to rampant pretense and feigning. Where we once championed helping people in need, today we cast them aside as is the fate of the homeless. When they are considered half-human, we simply kill them off, as is the case with the Palestinians.

The propaganda (Hasbara / war lies) of the occupiers of historic Palestine and the wars waged against the indigenous people, to sway public opinion, is not so much a matter of skill but a matter of control and manipulation. The central theme of this propaganda machinery is that the wars against the Palestinians are “defensive” wars. It challenges the propagandists to do the best job of selling pro-occupation war crimes as being justified and admirable. Concocting excuses and censoring information is warranted  and commendable.

When the control of the media is removed, the complexion of the “hasbara lies”, is radically changed. People get their news from alternate sources such as the internet. Support for the illegal wars and occupation of Palestine plunges. The pro-Occupation lobby then resort to banning any criticism of the occupation of the Holy Land.

Arundathi Roy, India’s voice for the oppressed, famously said: “Pity the nation that has to silence its writers for speaking their minds… Pity the nation that needs to jail those who ask for justice while communal killers, mass murderers, corporate scammers, looters, rapists and those who prey on the poorest of the poor, roam free.”

The MRN urges all media houses, journalists and advocates of justice to resist any attempt at locking down the media.

Ibrahim Vawda

Media Review Network

+27 72 295 0088

Link to detailed exposition on Media Freedom, ” The Role of Narrative within the discourse of colonialism and Palestine” by Zaakir Ahmed Mayet  Media Review Network.