Quote of the week

It is necessary that the integrity of the electoral process be maintained. Indeed, the acceptance of the election as being free and fair depends upon that integrity. Elections must not only be free and fair but they must be perceived as being free and fair. Even-handedness in dealing with all political parties and candidates is crucial to that integrity and its perception by voters. The Commission must not be placed in a situation where it has to make ad hoc decisions about political parties and candidates who have not complied with the Act. The requirement that documents must be submitted to the local offices of the Commission does not undermine the right to vote and to stand for election. It simply gives effect to that right and underscores the decentralised and local nature of municipal elections.

Ngcobo CJ
Electoral Commission of the Republic of South Africa v Inkatha Freedom Party
7 May 2007

David Bullard hits nail on head

David Bullard has evoked a fire storm in the South African Blogosphere (see here, here and here for examples) with his column in the Sunday Times yesterday in which he stated that Blogs are generally of a very low quality:

They’re cobbled together by people who wouldn’t stand a hope in hell of getting a job in journalism, mainly because they have very little to say. It’s rather sad how many people think the tedious minutiae of their lives will be of any interest to anyone else.

Can’t see what is wrong with that statement. Bullard seems to be rather kind, actually. Because I have been mad enough to start a Blog myself, I have recently been exposed to other Blogs and most of it is tedious drivel. Its mostly, (white people’s) conventional wisdom and communal prejudices dressed up as opinion and analysis.

People have a right to share their pearls of wisdom with the world, but surely the rest of us have a right not to take it too seriously. Let’s face it, my Dean of research is not going to award me research points for the finger exercises on this Blog because it is not serious writing.

On one count Bullard does get it wrong. He claims that the content in the Sunday Times is of a certain quality because it has been through editing processes. But one only has to skim that newspapers pages to be made aware of the sorry state of journalism in South Africa. Sometimes I wonder whether those people get paid to write so badly about such brain curdling boring issues. The New York Times it ain’t.

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