I just had a call from SABC Durban, a reporter from Radio Lotus, asking me to be available for their morning news programme tomorrow. I will phone you before to tell you what questions we are going to ask you, he said.
Is there no-one at home at the SABC? Are there no journalistic values or practices left in the place? One has often suspected that they tell government spokespeople their questions beforehand, but to brazenly state it as policy to do so … I am horrified.
The great strength of radio is that you can throw unexpected questions at interviewees when they are live on air – and you get the best stuff when officials are caught off guard. To forewarn is not just to let them interviewees off the hook; even worse, it is to create boring, dull radio.
The reporter quickly said, when I expressed my horror, that he tells people one or two questions and then slips the hard ones in later. But he only said that when he realised I was not appreciative of his helping hand.
Please, SABC board members, appoint a head of news who can bring a proper journalistic culture of probing, tough questioning to the news room!