futurefact finds's picture

Let him die in peace = I wish he was dead

Prof Jonathan Jansen, Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the University of the Free State is a powerful proponent for racial integration and has, by all accounts, defused racial tensions and created one of the more racially harmonious campuses in South Africa.

In a recent speech to students on the campus on the subject of leadership where he discussed Mandela’s iconic status, he stated: “Mandela has done so much for this country that I wish people would leave him alone to die in peace”. A far cry from the newspaper which quoted him as saying he wished Madiba would die.

South Africa’s constitution guarantees freedom of speech and freedom to the press. The latter is already under threat from the Freedom of Information Act. futurefact finds that eight out of ten South Africans believe: “It is my right to have a press that is free and not constrained by government” so when journalists stray from the truth in their reporting without corroborating their facts, they are not serving their own or their readers’ best interests.

futurefact finds that 26% of South Africans strongly agreed that “Journalists often harm people''s reputations because they don''t check their information sufficiently” and an additional 40% agreed a little (total 66%). As Prof Jansen said: “I also wish some journalists would have more ethics before completely distorting a message". He might have added ...before damaging people’s reputations. How many people will now associate Prof Jansen with the “man who wished Madiba would die” as a result of poor journalism and editing?

futurefact has been surveying the attitudes and beliefs of South Africans since 1998. The findings presented above are from futurefact 2012 which is based on a probability sample of 2,946 adults aged 15 years and over, living in communities of more than 500 people throughout South Africa representing 21.6 million adults.

If you would like to find out more about futurefact and its extensive attitudinal databases please contact Jos Kuper 082 904 9939 or check out www.futurefact.co.za