The Listening Post

President Zuma and the media in South Africa

We explore Zuma’s grip on broadcasters, and Wikimedia Foundation on facts, trust and open source knowledge.

On The Listening Post this week: South Africa‘s media and Jacob Zuma’s State of the Nation address. Plus, we sit down with Katherine Maher, executive director of the Wikimedia Foundation.

When South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma delivered his annual State of The Nation address to parliament on February 9, the force of his political argument was backed by a show of force.

Thousands of police officers and hundreds of soldiers were deployed at the Houses of Parliament in Cape Town to help “maintain law and order”.

One of the country’s main opposition groups, The Economic Freedom Fighters, hijacked the event to heckle and harangue the president live on television.

Zuma’s annual speech, along with the accompanying opposition theatrics, is one of the few times the president is depicted in a less-than-flattering light on the state-owned TV network, the SABC.

The SABC is a story in itself. The findings of a parliamentary committee set up to investigate the channel have been damning – on issues such as political interference from the Zuma government, financial mismanagement and more.

Fireworks in the parliament and the state broadcaster under investigation, we’re going to look at the state of the South African media.

Sam Mkokeli, chairman, The South African National Editors’ Forum 
Ranjeni Munusamy, associate editor, Daily Maverick
Thandeka Gqubule, journalist, SABC News
John Matisonn, author, God, Spies and Lies

Wikipedia, open source and the truth:

With fact increasingly treated like fiction and fiction often presented as fact, few online resources have retained credibility like Wikipedia.

We interviewed Wikimedia Foundation executive director Katherine Maher on facts, trust and the power of open source knowledge.

On our radar:

Brazil orders newspapers to pull stories involving a blackmail attempt against the wife of President Michel Temer.

Venezuela expels Brazilian reporters and bans CNN Espanol for investigating sensitive stories.

Ivory Coast arrests journalists and media executives, accusing them of spreading false news.