Wednesday, 09 September 2009

SA Media gets it wrong, again?

While checking news today, I bumped into articles which were a bit contradictory, if not confusing, and left one asking who’s fooling whom?

This is a report by Independent Online’s Karyn Maughan and Botho Molosankwe journalists on the sentencing of an unwise Judge Nkola Motata who was alledged to have been drunken driving and not able to pay a fine of R5000.00 “as punishment for driving under the influence”.

While on the same story, Media 24’s News24 Online quotes South African Press Association as saying Motata was “sentenced to a R20 000 fine or twelve months' imprisonment for drunken driving by the Johannesburg Magistrate's Court” today

Here’s what confuses me:
a) Why would Independent Online mention two fines for the judge – that he “claimed in the Johannesburg Magistrate's Court that he is too poor to pay a R5 000 fine as punishment for his drunk driving conviction - because he spent close to a R1-million on his defense” - and that his lawyer Zaais van Zyl SC insisted that “Motata must pay at least R5 000 as punishment for driving under the influence?” Which figure is a true reflection of what transpired in that court?

b) While News24 and Sapa on the other hand say Motata “was sentenced to a R20 000 fine or twelve months' imprisonment for drunken driving by the Johannesburg Magistrate's Court on Wednesday” and quoting magistrate Desmond Nair as saying “You [Motata] are sentenced to a fine of R20 000 or twelve months' imprisonment”.

What on earth as a news reader (or is it a follower?) do the two/three news agencies expect of me to believe - as any news consumer would expect of them to have been present at the Court today when the news, or lack thereof broke, so that readers are feed with the truth or something close to it so as to make an informed decision and view of what exactly could happened in that Court room?

Or maybe they were not there? But I think the two stories should tell a lot, don't you think?

Are they just misleading poor readers and making one hell of views’ point scores and not sure of what is at stake?

In end, one just feels like a "lost-in-the-news" consumer!

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