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Brave journalist sets example for mainstream media

  • AboveBoardShaunZagnoev (3)
There is a strong perception in the community that the mainstream media has a bias against Israel. It seems journalists either don’t give the country the coverage it deserves, or focus only on the negative. When we consider the intimidation that those who come out in support of Israel face, it is not surprising that many people, including in the media, simply shy away from the topic.
by SHAUN ZAGNOEV | Aug 02, 2018

One journalist, however, in spite of the fact that she might come under personal attack, continued to do what she does best: provide objective coverage of whatever event she happens to be covering. Nausheena Mahomed, a respected journalist, went to the South African Friends of Israel march in Pretoria last week. In preparation of a programme she would be doing for her show on Joburgtoday.tv, she posted images of the march onto her Facebook page.

Her post elicited some nasty responses. There were the usual attacks on the Jewish community, additional attacks on the Christian marchers, but she came under personal attack as well. And, there was an additional vehemence against Mahomed, based on the fact that she herself was Muslim.

It was expected that, as a Muslim, “she should know better”. It was evident that Mahomed was expected to take sides in the conflict, based on what other people believed the conflict to be about.

Mahomed was quick to call out the racism and anti-Semitism on the site, but this did not stop her own community from demanding answers from her. Clearly, they were hoping to bully her into submission. She was even told that she should “throw herself off the 15th floor”. She was continuously asked to state publicly where she stood on this issue. However, Mahomed refused to be intimidated.

She argued that a journalist’s role is not to reinforce what people’s perception of any given situation is, but to report the facts.

“Why must any journalist be confronted when covering marches or bullied into taking one position and denying the rights of the freedom of others…. We have our work to do! And that is reporting fairly, and allowing people to speak up and speak out and share perspective…. anyone in media who follows hardcore ethics in reporting without fear or favour offering every side an equal opportunity i guess will be hanged or subject to conspiracy theorists....as a journalist i will defend this right no matter what! VIVA FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION. VIVA FREE SPEECH VIVA TO THE COURAGE of ALL OF JOURNALISTS WHO REPORT FREELY WITHOUT FEAR OR FAVOUR.” (sic).

There is a feel-good factor to this story. The fact that a Muslim journalist will defend her right to give a voice to Christians and Jews is a positive sign that this country has not been totally hijacked by those who hate.

In her words, “The Christian and Jewish communities should not be isolated and discriminated against because of bullies who in a democratic SA will conjure up all kinds of excuses to ensure their voices are not heard. Long live Free speech in SA! Freedom to Palestinians and peace to both Israelis and Palestinians. May the almighty bring peace to both sides, as he showered South Africa with his grace in peaceful resolution.”.

I commend Mahomed on her brave stance. She has stood up for what she holds true, and is setting an exceptional example for the rest of the mainstream media.

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