Wezi Tjaronda Wanted: Journalist Qualifications: Diploma in journalism plus five years experience or Degree in journalism plus one year experience Requirements: Very high stress levels Be able to work very long hours Be tolerant enough to listen to journalism lectures from those that know little about journalism Be prepared to live like a king/queen without a crown Should master the art of waiting Be prepared for accusations about fabrication of stories These and many more are things that journalists face as they carry out their noble duty of informing, educating and entertaining the nation. Yet if they were treated accordingly, their work would be made much easier. There is a stark contradiction between what they are called-the Fourth Estate meaning the guardians of democracy and also defenders of the public interest, and the treatment that they sometimes get. Often at times the media is tossed around, referred to one person then another and yet another just in search for information to do objective articles. Many a times they have phones slammed in their faces, sometimes called “State controlled this and that”, “sensational this”, “liberal that”. At times even forced to listen to lectures on end, on how to do their work and the many times they have to struggle to get a mere picture of some very important visiting dignitary. The one that could be considered the most painful though is being made to wait for more than half an hour for an event to start or worse still being invited to come to 30 minutes earlier because apparently we pitch at events very late, yet they have lots of other equally important things to attend to. But when it suits them, I mean when it is to their advantage, the media then becomes an all-important stakeholder without which messages will not be relayed to the public. Sometimes called partners or the flowery “esteemed members of the media”, indeed the media has a vital role to play in any given democratic setting. I think is it just fair to accord them the place they deserve in society just like the teaching, health and legal professionals not forgetting politicians. In fact, they are just human with the same needs that all the others have. With a month or so to go when Namibian journalists join others the world over to celebrate Press Freedom in May, I think it would be worthwhile for every newsmaker to do some introspection on how they treat the media. Remember the famous sayings: “Do unto others what you would want them do unto you”, ” A stitch in time saves nine” and “Silence is consent”.
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