|Institutions should not coerce the media in exchange for advertising|
|Written by Nghidipo Nangolo|
|Wednesday, 15 August 2012 20:57|
A pluralistic media is an essential part and parcel of democracy in Namibia and the world at large.It is not accidental that the media is referred to as the ‘fifth estate’. A pluralistic media refers to both state and private owned, expected and mandated by the constitutions of the country and related media laws to reports fairly and objectively in the interest of the public, the country, business and society at large.
Lately, the corporate world and organizations, especially some banks and donor-funded organizations, have been playing monkey tricks with the media, essentially extorting and pitting media houses against each other by selectively placing advertisements. Any media, unless state-controlled or otherwise, is a business entity on its own. While media has a responsibility to the inhabitants of a country, they do have interests ingrained in the public interest to safeguard taxpayers money, public and private assets that they are not misused at the expense of the citizenry.
Many companies have realized the importance of the media and have not employed former journalists and media academics, but have devised ways to sway their interests in their favor alone to warrant maximum coverage for their interests. There is nothing wrong in doing that; in fact it’s a bonus to work with institutions that understanding the predicament of the media that survives from selling their copies or from advertising.
Promotions of services and goods are part of a broader mandate and right of almost any institution to advance its business and attract customers or investors. What has change in this mutual cooperation between the cooperate world and the media is the use of variable tricks especially by some institutions to coerce the media and sometimes use sheer force to have their services and products covered without investing in advertising, while advertising with other media house, which is perfectly the wrong thing to do for the right reasons.
The media also has a responsibility, without affecting the public interest, to promote its clients and customers and to give maximum services to the public, the owners and the government of the day. However, institutions should perhaps demand more services from the media houses in which they advertise, instead of using trickery and extortion to receive services for free. In the media there’s free lunch for anything in the public interest, but for institutions, such as business entities, it is important to understand that the media it’s a business.
Understanding the overtone of such a description is the fact that media houses also have a responsibility to give maximum services to their clients, even to those that want a free ride (coverage) for coverage of services and products from which they earn capital.
The media is there to articulate diverse views and to guard against negativities that led to extreme divisions, violence and wars. It’s the duty of the media to promote decent living conditions, freedom and liberation of people and subsequently the world.
The media does not need to be held ransom by scrupulous institutions that withhold advertising and yet demand maximum coverage. Media houses are run like any other business, despite the fact that its overall operations are more rooted in operations and activities that are in the public interests; that should be understood and respected. Any country worth its salt should have a pluralistic and free media that is free from outside machinations.