Smart Politicians Will Keep Their Hands Off Journalists

"Politicians in the Western world, like former U.S Congressman Charles Brownson, learned long time ago that 'Never quarrel a man who buys ink by the barrel'.”

By Victor Lugala

What our authorities don’t know or don’t want to know is that the longer they detain a journalist the more the authorities get bad press.

Aware that they are an endangered species, South Sudanese journalists have stuck together, supporting each other, crying on each other's shoulders.

And they have learned how to use their tools of trade to defend themselves, or write against injustice.

As the late Ugandan musician and AIDS activist Phil Lutaya put it in his AIDS anthem ‘Alone and Frightened’, “Today is me, tomorrow is someone else,” the journalists have taken the cue to stand in solidarity to guard against their vulnerability.

Politicians in the Western world, like former U.S Congressman Charles Brownson, learned long time ago that “Never quarrel a man who buys ink by the barrel.”

The outspoken veteran Zanzibari journalist, Salim Said Salim, once told young reporters in Dar es Salaam that they should use their media outlets to expose bad things that politicians do to them.

Take note: He didn’t mean journalists should start insulting politicians because that will expose the journalists as uncouth and unprofessional charlatans. Not only that but they can be sued for libel.

Well-informed journalists/editors can write incisive editorials or commentaries to criticise what they think is unhealthy to modern society.

If journalists are professional, know how to handle the language they use for writing and speaking to public, and they are smart in putting across their arguments, I tell you, politicians will have no journalist to harass or put in jail unless they are involved in a love triangle or some village vendetta!

 

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