African journalists have been told to report with integrity and courage and tell the truth to power. The Archbishop of South Africa, Desmond Tutu, gave this admonition to African journalists Wednesday, 7 July, 2010, at the closing ceremony of the Highway Africa/World Journalism Education Congress which took place at Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa.
Tutu, who went down memory lane to illustrate lack of integrity in the media, recalled that during the apartheid regime in South Africa, an Afrikaner newspaper always portrayed him in cartoons wearing dark goggles, which made him look sinister, even though he wasn’t wearing any, and that immediately after the fall of apartheid, the same newspaper started portraying him with clear goggles.
He urged journalists not to carry favour from power so that they would be able to tell truth to power at all times, as that was the only way the press would be able to fulfil its mandate and make South Africa realise its dream of a democratic, and egalitarian society.
Archbishop Tutu, who signed the Table Mountain Declaration on Press freedom and democracy which was the communiqué drawn up by delegates to the WJEC, expressed delight at the progress South Africa has made since the end of apartheid at multi-racial integration and the sense of patriotism engendered in all South Africans, regardless of race or tribe, especially with the hosting of the World Cup tournament.
“Every vehicle, every car in South Africa is carrying the South African flag, and support for Bafana Bafana, the national team, was overwhelming,” he said, adding that this support extended to other African countries, with the Ghana team renamed BaGhana BaGhana by South Africans in a show of solidarity.”
He urged all South Africans to come together to make the country better, adding that even at his age, he was not going to fold his arms and say he had done his bit, waiting for the call home, but that he was going to continue to fight for the cause of a better society until the dream is realised.