EDI­TOR’S NOTE: If the jour­nal­ists go, who will be left to speak out for you?

The Independent on Saturday - - METRO -

I HATE it when a jour­nal­ist be­comes part of the news.

This week it hap­pened to a few, in­clud­ing one I hold dear. My for­mer sis­ter edi­tor An­gela Quin­tal and her com­rade from the Com­mit­tee to Pro­tect Jour­nal­ists (CPJ) were de­tained in Tanzania.

This is a re­ally sad de­vel­op­ment. Not so long ago the whole con­ti­nent ap­plauded as Pres­i­dent John “Bull­dozer” Magu­fuli took over and started bull­doz­ing cor­rup­tion out of his beau­ti­ful coun­try. What led to his trans­mo­gri­fi­ca­tion into a mon­ster is puz­zling.

While we sigh with re­lief that Quin­tal and Muthoki Mumo were later re­leased, we can’t cel­e­brate while an­other fel­low jour­nal­ist, Azory Gwanda, who dis­ap­peared a year ago, is still miss­ing.

The CPJ also has some work to do in its base coun­try, the US.

The rough treat­ment of CNN cor­re­spon­dent Jim Acosta – sim­ply for giv­ing US Pres­i­dent Donald Trump a hard time dur­ing his post-elec­tion me­dia con­fer­ence

– may pale into in­signif­i­cance in com­par­i­son to the de­ten­tion, mur­der and so on seen in too many parts of Africa and the globe, but it’s still a cause for con­cern.

Also wor­ry­ing is the now ev­er­p­re­sent el­e­ment of fake news.

Ap­par­ently In­fowars, an ultra-right web­site, had a hand in the “doc­tored” video ex­ag­ger­at­ing Acosta’s be­hav­iour that led to him be­ing banned from the White House.

First they are com­ing for the jour­nal­ists, and not many peo­ple are speak­ing out be­cause they are not jour­nal­ists.

When they come for you, will any­one be left to speak for you?

MAZWI XABA mazwi.xaba@inl.co.za

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