Thursday, April 16, 2015

All 3 of South Africa 24-hour TV news channels - eNCA, SABC News and ANN7 - step up with remarkable and excellent xenophobia coverage.

Watch South African television news - you will be moved.

On Thursday something remarkable happened: eNCA (DStv 403), SABC News (DStv 404) and ANN7 (DStv 405) all started doing exceptional, comprehensive, real, visceral and remarkable TV news coverage of the xenophobic attacks in South Africa.

There's currently, ongoing brilliant coverage on all 3 of South Africa's 24-hour TV news channels with extensive, well-done reporting really not seen since the passing of Nelson Mandela.

News media - which includes television news - functions best, serves best - when it doesn't give uncritical, unquestioning coverage to politicians, governments and the powerful but gives voice to the voiceless; the powerless.

All three - ANN7, eNCA and SABC News - absolutely excelled on Thursday with visceral inserts, well-done stories, remarkable footage and probing talk shows and interviews about the horrific violence, displacement and hate against foreigners in South Africa.

All three - SABC News, ANN7 and eNCA were brilliant in their own way and they all found, and gave precious and amble ongoing airtime to people who've been invisible - people you never see, even less heard, on South African television and South African TV news before.

In heart wrenching, emotional images, soundbytes, stories and interviews, foreigners living and working in South Africa - in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng - spoke on eNCA, ANN7 and SABC News about how they've been attacked, their shops looted and their houses ransacked.

They told of how they have to live in horrible conditions in the tent camps the South African government has set up.

On ANN7 scared and angry foreigners told of how their abandoned houses are broken into. On eNCA they spoke of their anger and fear and resentment of being made scapegoats. On SABC News the entire Question Time talk show was about xenophobia.

All three TV news channels went out and found and did their own unique, probing and revealing stories - several of them - in Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg.

All three channels - from the public broadcaster's news channel SABC News, to Sabido's eNCA and Infinity Media's ANN7 - didn't mince words and they didn't shy away from telling the real facts.

For coverage like this, media users usually rely more on newspapers for the deeper, fuller picture. Today South African TV news brought it, in real time with accurate coverage and commentary, rounded and comprehensive coverage and telling of the chaos in Durban, protests and parliamentary debate in Cape Town and how African resentment against South Africa is building over what is happening in this country.

It's remarkable to see SABC News covering protests and interviewing both foreigners telling of their anguish, and of marching South Africans who refuse to disperse and saying "our government isn't listening to us" and "if our government wants peace it must sit down with".

Producers found real experts to comment on xenophobic violence on all three channels, with informed guests cautioning against creating refugee camps, talking about the "very real crisis", and providing insight on the flaring xenophobia issue.