“If you [own] the SABC on one hand and the Sunday Times on the other, public opinion can be controlled, and that is what’s scary,” says somebody called Ryland Fisher, quoted at the end of the first article linked below.
Of course, if Ryland’s friends are controlling everything, then it’s not scary any more. If Tokyo Sexwale, for example, deeply embroiled with monopoly finance capital, buys dozens of intellectuals, judges and politicians with millions of rands each, and then comes along and buys a 30% interest in the Johncom group during his campaign for the ANC presidency, then Ryland isn’t scared.
He is only scared now because Thabo Mbeki’s cronies are seeking to up the ante, overtop Sexwale’s manoeuvre with an even bigger “splodge of wonga”, and so walk away with the Sunday Times.
But is Ryland’s basic proposition (and Tokyo’s hope) correct? Is it possible to buy public opinion?
This question touches the Communist University, because the whole basis of the CU is that if people educate themselves and each other in dialogue, and if they write and speak, then their voices will be heard, with or without the assistance of the formal “mainstream media”. It becomes impossible for a bunch of journalists and editors to hold back the free expression of a free-minded people.
It also becomes impossible to smuggle in a law of prior restraint on free expression, even if you pretend, and lie, and dress it up as a law against child pornography - see the second linked item.
It certainly becomes impossible to bully people, as the cadaverous old necrophiliac Essop Pahad has always tried to do, and continues to try to do – see the third linked item. Yet his bullying Pahad is nothing special and would never have got anywhere without the slipstream of his smarter brother, Aziz. Essop is a "Wizard of Oz" type character (see picture). His credibility is now even further shot since his daughter Amina took some of Tokyo Sexwale’s “Batho Bonke” millions. Who do these guys think they are kidding? Essop Pahad in particular should be put out to grass, and the sooner the better.
It is not sensible to be like Ryland, hoping that one media tycoon can balance another media manipulator. Because Tokyo’s cheesy grin is just as phoney as Essop’s cheesy grin, and behind their backs and out of sight, they are holding hands, Batho-Bonke-style.
The way to go is to educate ourselves. What do these self-important characters know that is better than us? Why should we trust them? Rather learn to trust ourselves!
Click on these links:
Mbeki men in R7bn bid to own S Times, Naidu and Piliso, S Times (922 words)
Media law not a bid to gag press, Wyndham Hartley, Weekender (455 words)
Media reporting on Mbeki malicious, Sapa, City Press (459 words)