tv Listening Post Al Jazeera May 11, 2014 11:30am-12:01pm EDT
africa's elections is coming up next. for news updates go to aljazeera.com. hello. i am richard againstberg. you are at the "listening post." in the new south africa, the media is a big part of the story. click bait, those teasing head lines you hate yourself for clicking on. the russian media have marched to the kremlin's beat. they have the medals to show for
it. buckle up india for a different kind of web video. it's been 20s years since south africa held the first truly democratic election that brought nelson mandela to power. under jacob zuma, the anc has won it's fifth term. it has blamed political problems on the country's media, particularly the printed press, which the ruling party says is fixated on the negative and not the anc's accomplishments. switch on the state-owned broadcaster where most get their news and it's usually a different story. the sabc came under fire for refusing to air campaign as of the main opposition party, the democratic aliance, the da. the network dismissed the ads as a publicblicity stunt that violated broadcast regulations. the da accused the sabc of censorship. 20 years into the new south africa, there are racial sub plots. the country remains divided just not the way that it once was.
our starting point this week is pretoria. . >> the people in this country depend on the sabc for news. it isn't easy to put your message on public broadcast. >> the media has been favorable. media has become synonymous with opposition. >> critical because the anc. it's the ruling party. >> four voices on the south african media and the coverage of the election. the opinion zipings candidate who says the state-owned sabc sensored his party's campaign add. the sabc spokesman denies that. the government spokesman who accuses the media of opposing president zuma's anc. and the deputy editorial who disputes that and says his paper's only agenda is covering
the news. >> they tried to silence us but this is what they are afraid of. >> "they, according to the democratic alliance refused to broadcast a previous da ad that pulled no punches on the ruling anc. >> it's an a. nkc taking us backwards. we have seen a police force killing our own people. >> it was that line in particular? >> we have seen a police force killing our own people. >> that the sab cited when it refused to air the ad. they said it was following rules. the anc government supported the channel. >> it's in their ads now. why don't we say we are corrupt, you must bring evidence to show that we are corrupt. so that ad is in controversion of our electoral laws. >> says you cannot publish false
words about any organization. i am not part of the sabc. i, therefore, cannot respond on behalf of the sabc. go to them. >> you know the regulations and the regulations are not their regulations. they cannot be allowed to be seen to be inciting violence. when they bring evidence to us, the da were saying that the police are killing our people, then we ask them, where have you ever seen the police killing your people? because now you are creating a bad name for the police and you are saying the people must attack the police because police are not in a political fight. >> we have evidence to substantiate the ruling party, we have a problem with police brutality which affects th electorate. the public broadcasters then said, look here. you can't criticize the government did is a factual
statement that is true. the evidence was not hard to fine. there was a strike at mericana where the police shot and killed 34 striking miners. the sabc has a larger problem with credibility and the broadcaster knows it. in 2013, it commissioned a study into its falling ratings which concluded that viewers saw the network as biased in favor of the anc, imbalanced on stories such as mericana and the money spent on the president's home and said there is a perception that the sabc's content is not decided by editors but by the politicians they answer to but concluding that the anc got more than twice as much campaign coverage on the sabc than the da did. those per sessions will not have changed. in the elections, we have all of the political parties, starting from the ruling party up to the last, complaining about coverage because all of them want the coverage from the sabc because
the image we have in the public. we are not worried about that. we hear it. what we want to make very clear is there is no indication anyway where we are going to be regarded as the mouthpiece of the ruling party. >> editors who just want nothing but to carry on with their professional duties. they were put under pressure by the management to say don't portray the ruling party this way. we don't want this particular party. we don't want this particular politicians to be on air. so, it was more of a lot of abc. i would say managerial internal ference to a large degree. . >> we asked the sabc to comment on the internal study but were unsuccessful. the south african print media have reported progressively on jacob zuma. the guardian has led the way on the mine story, all of that
taxpayers money spent on the president's residence and in 2005, when zuma was accused of rape and suggested the risk of contracting hiv in a country racked could be eliminated by houring after sex, he was lampooned mercyilessly. it's as though the newspapers are trying to provide some kind of editorial counterbalance. >> in this country and some segment of international media don't think we should vote for anc. people have defied these media houses and voted for the anc. and even in this, the malin guardian says no matter, there are others who have now openedly said vote for an opposition party. but that is the opposition
stance that they have taken. we are not surprised. we are not surprised at all that they have taken this stance. in fact, they are opposition to the anc. >> in 19 yeah 9 and 1994, 2004, there was no noise when we endorsed the anc. we feel too much power has led to unaccountability, a culture of arrogance has has namade the party ineffective. there should not be a party that feels it is entitled to votes. as the media, i don't see why we can't do that. >> the print media in south africa is still lively but the taming of the sabc is not the only concern as the country goes forward. there is a sec res law before parliament vehemently opposed by the media that would make any journalist found guilty of national security information
linable to up to 25 years. they tried to stop the information coming out pent on president zuma's home. it's not just the state of the south african media today. it's where this story is going. >> my anxiety here is that in the next five years, the anc realizes they could lose power. so you then end up in a space where democracy is being undermine undermined. it's the culture. i think we have to be able to fight harder and allow for the independence of the media whether it be print, television or even social media. . >> our global village voices now on journalism in today's south africa. >> globally speaking, the media plays a role in the various political parties on their respective campaign trails. they have failed at covering social issues beyond the narrow
focus of the elections. >> to a large extents, the media is unbiased. da and anc make use of things such as twitter. >> i think the media played a vital role in the lead-up to these elections. in many cases, it has caused a shift in support from one party to another. in terms coverage, i think it's beg very widespread with a tremendous amount of information given, to help people be informed about the decision that the decisions that they are making at the end of the day. in terms of t.v. broadcasting, i think the coverage has been fair apart from the state owned sabc which delayed campaign adverts from being
time for listening post news basis. there is a to you familiar post script on the number journists killed in the philippines. 35-year-old richard najid was the acting manager of dxmm in the proof i knew of taoitaoi. he was shot. the motive was not immediately known. police angered the media community by saying that najid was not a journalist but one disk jockey. he was the host of a regular news an current affairs program.
in a statement, the national press club, the npc likened the police's attitude of that of the president before his murder during a press conference with u.s. president barack obama. akino got it wrong when he misstated the number of journalists killed in a 2009 politically motivated massacre saying 52 had been killed, not 32. the nbc's president said this is a clear indication of plain disregard for the ready plight of filipino journalits he, the president, couldn't even get his facts straight. >> the turkish government is fighting back against criticism for the reputation for jailing journalists. on may 1st, the u.s.-based rights add voc case freedom house downgraded from partly free to not free. the same category it gives countries like south sudan and zambia, not the kind of company turkey wants to keep.
the next day thephon minister called on turkish journalists to reject the report. a number of media outlets were happy to comply, including the star daily, and yeni akit. they all ran stories to discredited the sorts by linking freedom house to the u.s. state department, george soros and some pro-isreal lobby groups. freedom house is not alone. the paris-based reporters without borders ranks turkey 154th to the 180 countries it lists on the press freedom rankings describing turkey as one of the world's biggest prisons for journalists saying 2014 is likely to be a decisivive year in turkey. >> there is a new award. you have heard of the pull it'sers and the memmies. how about the kremlins. you have to be russian and loyal to moscow's narrative on ukraine. on may 5th, the veda mosti said
putin issued a decree last month with the awarding of the fairyland medal to more than 300 russian editors, four of the articles said their high-level professionalism and objective coverage of events in crimea. poopt's spokesman confirmed it to the moscow times but refused to add details. among those honored, russia today's chief editor simyonyan who at the height of the crisis tweeted ukraine rest in peace. >> and on television saying russia is the only country in the world that is realistically capable of turning the u.s. into radioactive ash he missed out on this round of honors but got the same medal three months ago for what the kremlin called many years of conscientious work. critical journalists did not make the cut. there are some parodies of the awards including one that says send that studio a medal.
. >> if the following piece was something that you clicked on online rather than a television news story, the headline might read, we took a look at click bait and the results were amazing. click bait is the headline that entises but does not inform. the one that we cannot resist clicking on even when we know we are being suckerred into it because click bait seldom delivers on its promise but since it's designed to get the site's clicks first and satisfactory users second, it's not going away any time soon. as some have learned at their expense, there are some stories that web surfers just don't want to be manipulated over. the listening post's will young on the clickbait scourge and the clicks of a slightly devious and sometimes engine ius growing trade. >> seriously wow. 21 pictures. >> restore your faith in hum humani humanity. >> 20s things that will blow your mind. aren't headlines supposed to tell us what's in a story so you can decide whether to read it?
since when did they start promising to blow your mind? >> it's that sort of feeling that it's irrelevant resistible and you have to click on it. this is a very typical clickbait head 0. >> a took took a picture in the dark and what can tap toured is terrifying beyond words. it doesn't tell you what this is about but it raises the jee. terrifying beyond words? what could it possibly be? so even if you feel kind of cynical about the headline and don't really want to read the story, you are almost going to have to click. there was a headline that was something like "this kid died. what he left behind is onetacular" like wonderful stuck into spectacular. and you never find out what the onetacular thing is. they used to be more descriptive because they decided they were
there to read news. now, you are there not to be bored. >> they have the list thing going. they own that. before, people weren't really aware of the topic quite as much but because they keep using the headlines in that way and that's really how they became such an overnight success that then was mirrored by different sites. i have started rebelling against it even if it seems interesting, no. not going to do it. >> so maybe you clicked but did the content literally blow your mind? did it restore your faith in humanity? probably not. we invited buzzfeed and upworthy to explain their headline writing policies to us but they said they would rather not. we did get the huffington post's managing efforted and he says despite what some readers might think, clickbait isn't part of the wen site's modis operanti?
>> we have arrived at a page and have it be a little flat. >> is something we try to avoid at all costs. i think that's one of the things that may distinguish us from places that are really pushing the limit. one example that comes to mind for me is the headline that we did for the government shutdown. when the government shutdown ended, we wrote the headline, men got us into the shutdown. women got us out. it had that bite, that humor, crystallized the moment in the right way. there were probably very few differences between the story that we wrote and the story that polit politico wrote and the "new york times" wrote. if i had to guess, our headline probably drew more people to our story than theirs did. >> in the ends, there is nothing more important than getting those clicks. in the online economy, page views equal advertising revenue. at a time methods, are they justified for any story? . >> in february, cnn tried clickbait tactics on a story about rape statistics.
there was a backlash. the headline might have read "cnn tried out a click bait headline and the results shocked everything." "i understand that cnn would want to draw traffic to its article, but i don't think that that is enough of a justificati justification. with stories that are controversial or need more nuance. you know, we are talking about rape here how in the world can you use that kind of clickbait head line for that a topline fo cnn, in response to critics posted another tweet. "thanks for feedback: it's generally surprising alaska's rape rate is so high. the story deserves attention." you may not agree with them but what about this treat from cnn from the previous month 14-year-olds girl stabs her little sister 40 times, police say. the reason why will shock you. >> there are tactics that are okay for some newcomers that probably aren't okay for a cnn
major media. competitors like upworthy and others that are growing tremendously, and they would be remiss if they didn't notice this and try to figure out how they could use some of these tactics. the problem is the media has legacy brands to protect and these new outlets like upworthy don't have that. in the battle for online eyeballs, media outlets follow the traffic. as buzzfeed and upworthy have skyrocketed. others have copied the clickbait formula. there is another factor at play less about the headlines and more about one particular website that's driving a lot of those clicks. facebook. when the social media giant changed what's known as its news feed algorithm last year, that one change channeled all kinds of highly clickable contents
right there where you are most likely to see it. suddenly, clickbait was everywhere. >> the news feed is what you see when you log into facebook.com. so, it's like the main way facebook shows you content. the effective, the algorithm change was so enormous publishers stoortsd target their stories toward facebook users and the upworthy style seems to work well there. >> i think that the way that news is now viewed is really heavily influenced by social media and the social media that's available, you know, 10 years ago, you didn't have people using facebook. you didn't have people using twitter. now, you share it on facebook. you share it on twitter. i think we will definitely experience clickbait fatigue. we are seeing it. we are going to get tired of those types of headlines but sites and publications change with the times. what's clickbait this year is not going to be clickbait next year. so when you are killing time on the internet and a headline
grabs you: 69 facts about new zealand. >> out of this world. >> will you rise to the clickbait? more global village voices on the whole clickbait thing. . >> clickbaiting is arrive because it works. that's the simple truth of the matter. many people feel that clickbaiting is k450e7ening the journalist art, by design, ephemeral, fleeting, designed to elicit an immediate almost unthinking response from the reader. it's absolutely not a very comfortable relationship either for the journalist or the reader. in the end, superb content is what really wins, not these sensationalist headlines that are here for the moment and not going to be here for the longrun. >> with clickbait, we are talking more about the headlines, the formula of x will make you y on this thing happened and you won't believe what happened next. this said, the clickbait gets more people reading a great piece, it's only a good thing. it can feel a little bit cheap but when you use the clickbaiting title, you are
saying the content is muddled. right now, maybe people are getting wise to it but they keep on clicking. anytime, anywhere. more on every screen. digital, mobile, social. visit aljazeera.com. follow @ajam on twitter. and like aljazeera america on facebook for more stories, more access, more conversations. so you don't just stay on top of the news, go deeper and get more perspectives on every issue. al jazeera america.
>> the artic. real reporting from around the world. this is what we do. al jazeera america. sglvenlths finally, there is a new public safety initiative in india. when you have more than a billion people on or around the roads, save a lot of lives by convincing indians to buckle up their seatbelts. what sets this message apart, though are the mess inc.ers, indian trans genders who have traded roadside blessings for a few rupes. they provide the sales pitch and they are borrowing a thing or two for their safety demonstrations, the seatbelt crew have had more than a million hits so far. we have made them our web video of the week. we will see you next time at the
more soldiers targeted in southern yemen as southern courses continue their fight against al-qaeda-linked fighters. you are watching al jazeera america live from doha. also, ahead, defying kyiv, parts of eastern ukraine vote in a referendum on self-rule. >> praying for their safety return, nigerians turn to religion to help find hundreds of missing school girls. using an unmanned aircraft to check another. droeningz are used for airline maintenance and