WHY do I have this niggling feeling that I should be watching my back because I can feel the laser burn of a sniper rifle tracking my every move where my job is concerned?
These days media workers are being forced to act like abused slaves who must watch our every word or action out of fear of being sued by politicians or fired by owners of media houses who are in turn being threatened by sour big wigs to let you go or lose their advertising and business dollars.
This is nothing new and as far as I can remember, media workers have been muzzled on so many occasions that I have lost count.
There are times when I sit back and really feel sorry for myself and my colleagues in all the other media houses when I think of the way we have been battered and abused from every angle possible.
Whilst we try our best to do a public service, we are left at the mercy of horrible masters…and might I just add that our masters are plentiful.
Let’s start with the politicians, the ones that I have the strongest aversion to. They throw their weight around like bullies and treat members of the media like useless “moose boys” where they refuse to dialogue with us about the “real” issues that we really want to report on, they “silence” us when we get the actual “scoop” on the said real issues but then they turn around and call us/expect us to show up at the cutting of a ribbon for the opening of a new bridge etc. and woe be unto us if we don’t show up…oh, that’s when we find out just how worthless we are!
Coming a close second to the politicians are business owners. They too throw their weight around like bullies all whilst expecting us to sing for our supper.
They are the ones paying the big bucks (and our salaries) and so we are at their mercy. Meanwhile, they go around getting up to all sorts of sordid affairs and we can’t dare attempt to expose them for fear that they pull the rug from under the feet of the media house owners.
And say we try to be brave and go ahead with the report/article anyway, and this too applies to the politicians, like they say, we can suck salt if we think it will get through because I kid you not, the media house owners themselves will come down from their perches and personally see to it that our reports go M.I.A.
When talking about this, I can never forget one of a few occasions where my colleagues and I were told that we were not allowed to report on a major controversial issue surrounding a popular music festival because it would ruffle the feathers of some major investors.
Of course I’m treading carefully here and no, this did not happen whilst working at The VOICE but the fact of the matter is that these cases are all too common
Then we have the fattest master, the public who whilst they are not as conniving as the politicians and business owners, they are by far the nastiest.
This is the master that demands the most out of us and we just cannot possibly win.
Whilst trying to keep our heads above water with the first two masters pulling us under, we get battered for not reporting on the real issues…yes, the same ones that we have been muzzled for.
Then we get battered for reporting about negativity and “roro” , yet that is exactly what the crowds are baying for.
They also accuse us of not reporting on the positive events going on around us yet when we do (and this area is my specialty), these reports don’t even get a second look or viewers/listeners switch stations…sighhh.
Like I said, this is nothing new but suddenly it is becoming more apparent.
Take a look at what happened recently with a major player in the world of media…personal feelings aside, why should one be forced from their job, whether they jumped ship or were pushed, because of pressure from political parties?
Anyone who knows me and my story, knows that I am most certainly not crying for this individual but giving fairness where it is due, this should never have happened or be allowed to happen and it just shows that we all are seen as easily expendable tools.
I have written several pieces calling for individuals to open their eyes and not only see but take full control of the power that they have in their hands so let me do it one more time, only this time, it’s to my media colleagues.
Right now, we’re in election season or as it is more commonly and appropriately known, the silly season…it is not even a question as to whether the media is an essential piece in this race…they need us.
Imagine if all media houses were to collectively boycott this election season and flat out refuse to carry any news and reports concerning any politician and their party… now that I would have no issues with.
All slaves rebel at some point, perhaps this is our time.
I am not going to pretend that we are perfect, in fact, I would be lying if I denied that there are some areas in the media in serious need of work, yes that includes reporters but this is only the very tip of a planet sized iceberg.
We have a responsibility and whilst mistakes are being made (all to often sometimes) by many including myself, I’d like to believe that this responsibility is being taken extremely seriously…well on my end, I most definitely do take my job seriously and respectfully, hence the reason why I feel so strongly about those hurdles that we face daily…our silent suffering.
Just imagine putting your all into a project only to have a bully come along, trample it and then stick their tongue out to your face, this is the simplest but most accurate comparison I could find to describe what media workers face daily.
It’s amazing how we are considered to be a nation’s fourth estate (which is huge right?) but we get treated like we are the scourge of the nation.
Then again, when you have so many powerful forces fighting down your every move, what is there to do?
I feel sorry for the novices and future media workers wishing to get into this field…Good luck to you all.
Gosh, I can feel that laser burning straight through my forehead already but seriously, there comes a time when we say enough is enough.