It is said that democracy dies in darkness. True, but it also dies in selfishness, apathy and despair.
AmaBhungane was created to shine a light in the shadows. But the country is in such a dark place that we need to remind ourselves that the responsibility for tending the fire that keeps the wolves at bay belongs to us all.
This is a global phenomenon. The light of rational goodwill and fairness is everywhere under attack.
Populists and opportunists across the political spectrum are cashing in on the coarsening of public discourse, surfing the polarisation that the lords of the digital market promote through indifference and greed.
In what purports to be one of the world’s oldest democracies, a bad actor is trying to steal an election, abetted by a political party that has plumbed new depths of cynicism.
We’ve seen parts of that horror movie under Jacob Zuma – and we know that it doesn’t just end with the narrow election of a well-meaning successor.
Globally, the news media is under sustained attack from authoritarians and others who want it to be an instrument of power and manipulation – a mouthpiece for political and corporate interests.
In just the latest example, Polish reporters are worried about newspapers turning into hardline propaganda outlets after a state-run company took over a major publisher.
Back home, Iqbal Survé has succeeded in sending at least some of his titles down that darkening road, pursuing an editorial line that might make Fox News proud.
But there is also a glow of accountability and success: sparks that deserve to be fanned into life by an active citizenry that refuses to allow thieves and gangsters to dictate our future.
The Zondo Commission is coming alight in its final months and is starting to squeeze concessions (and hundreds of millions of rands) out of corruption’s enablers.
The National Prosecuting Authority has started to prosecute some of the agents of state capture.
The Special Investigating Unit and the Hawks seem energised by the prospect of finally doing the jobs they were designed for.
The Revenue Service was recently able to preserve nearly R3-billion in assets of CRRC Corporation as security for a tax bill of similar size the Chinese locomotive manufacturer will likely face by dint of having paid kickbacks to the Guptas.
Nearly all these successes are built on foundations laid by careful reporting, with amaBhungane a proud torchbearer.
One of the most insidious tactics of the current media onslaught is to undermine faith in fact-based and accountable media sources by repeating the lie that they are as “captured” as their critics.
It’s not true.
For real journalists, facts matter.
As does your support. Be an amaB Supporter today.