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We are all hungry for truth!

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South African book stores this week couldn’t get enough copies of Jacques Pauw’s book “The President’s Keeper”, where this multi-award-winning journalist documents more of President Jacob Zuma’s corruption.
by PETA KROST MAUNDER | Nov 09, 2017

People are desperate to get their hands on this book. Within days of its launch, it was rated a bestseller by Amazon and the Kindle edition became the eighth fastest selling e-book globally. That is despite a pirated PDF version being circulated like wildfire. I personally received four such copies.

To me, this speaks of South Africans being hungry for truth and not wanting to be kept in the dark by our leadership. I believe we all want transparency. We want to know the truth no matter how ugly it might be.

It is not up to Zuma or any other leader to decide what we need to know. If we choose to ignore something or simply live with it, that is our choice. But don’t make decisions about what we need to know. I firmly believe that every person in this country does not want leaders to decide what they are to be told or not told.

Many of us have lived through the apartheid era, when the government decided what we were allowed to know. They selected what we could put out in the media and even played dirty tricks with something they called “Stratcom”. This stood for strategic communication, which was the government’s way of “winning the hearts and minds” of the population.

They would create and leak scenarios to journalists that would be sure to make people angry and hate the ANC, who was then the “enemy” of the government. They would also have a representative sitting in our newsrooms to ensure we didn’t print anything they didn't want people to know.

It was a very dark time for the media - but far darker for the population because they were not being told the truth and there were huge gaps in the information they were given.

As a citizen, I don’t believe anyone has the right to keep information - particularly if somehow concerns us - from us.

I know that there are certain leaders in our community who also feel strongly that we don't need to know everything. If there are some things they believe we wouldn't be proud of, perhaps it might upset us or have us seen in a less than squeaky clean light, then they would rather we aren’t told. Instead, they consider it better to deal with it “in-house”, rather than share it with the community.

As elected leaders, it is their responsibility to decide how to deal with situations and what would be in the best interests of the community. But it isn’t their responsibility to decide what we know or don’t. If it affects us, we should know. Making that decision to hide it from us, could be construed as censorship and it is something we should have left behind with apartheid.

Having said that, it takes a brave person to swim against the tide. When others would rather you keep quiet, it is not easy to say “no”.

Since I started as editor here, I have come across a number of incredibly strong leaders and people who hold themselves and the community up to a moral mirror. They are not afraid to be transparent, real and go against the tide. I salute them for their bravery.

Let me make myself clear: This editorial is not a criticism of any one leader or organisation, nor is it about any specific occurrence. It is simply relaying what we - at the SA Jewish Report - are often faced with.

We believe that it is the duty of this newspaper to tell you what is happening in and about the community and what is of interest to the community. It is also our mandate to hold leadership to account.

We are your eyes and ears and we are here so that you know what is happening. As leaders, please work with us in ensuring this community - that is clearly also hungry for the truth - is kept in the know.

Shabbat shalom!

 

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