Creating a war with the media only further taints the cricket governing body’s already diminished public image, writes PHILASANDE SIXABA.
Cricket South Africa’s dire situation is seemingly getting worse by the day now and it is, for lack of a better word, embarrassing to witness.
This past weekend, CSA thought it was a great plan to revoke five senior cricket writers’ stadium accreditation, preventing them from covering Mzansi Super League matches in Johannesburg and Cape Town. Whoever in the nonsensical decision-making corridors thought that was a great idea, was terribly misinformed and has created further distrust in the organisation from the cricket-loving public.
The explanations from CSA as to why they decided to revoke the accreditations of senior scribes Stuart Hess, Ken Borland, Telford Vice, Firdose Moonda and Neil Manthorp have been even more worrying and problematic. Both CSA’s head of communications and media Thamie Mthembu and CEO Thabang Moroe spoke on two prominent Johannesburg-based radio stations, KayaFm and Radio 702, admitting that they revoked the journalists’ stadium accreditations because they did not like what they had been reporting about the governing body.
Moroe, in fact, said that ‘Because your [banned journalists’] so-called facts are misplaced and misguided, and we feel you are misleading the public’ on Radio 702.
If indeed this is how Moroe and CSA felt, then why did they not report the kind of media scrutiny they were receiving to the South African Editors Forum and the Press Ombudsman? An article by Hess published on 27 November was probably the last straw for CSA, after Hess probed Mthembu on the finalisation of the director of cricket role among other pressing issues.
As much as CSA claims it wants to protect its image from so-called falsified media reporting, banning individuals further tarnishes its already fading image. To actively single out certain members of the media holding senior management accountable for a dire situation in the organization, makes them look vindictive and downright clueless on how to run an institution of its magnitude.
CSA can ill-afford to start a public war and a divide between itself and the media. In all fairness, the body needs the media more so now during this tumultuous time than it has ever before.
The inconsistencies in communication from CSA are also a major concern.
Moroe and Mthembu have claimed that they have tried on countless occasions to sit down with the journalists and their editors to voice their concerns over the reporting, but the media houses and journalists concerned have not heard any such communication.
That is worrying and if they are serious about rebuilding their public image, both Moroe and Mthembu need to start fostering a better communication culture.
The latest spat comes on the eve of the England series where the Proteas desperately need to redeem themselves after a dismal tour to India. At this point, it’s hard to tell which reporters will be covering that series.
Get your act together, CSA. Before it’s too late.