Semenya media reports slammed-Video Report

Date: October 12, 2009
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This article may be used to:

– Highlight the shortages of women in news reporting.
– Shows that women are still represented as victims in the media.
– Showcases the need to have equal representation of sexes in the media.
– Highlight the extent to which reporting on private matters can lead to violation of human rights.
– Indicates the importance of applying ethics while reporting on sensitive matters.

Trainer’s notes:
This Video report exposes disappointments and anger by South African citizens over the way the media has been handling the Caster Mokgadi Semenya’s gender testing affairs. Very powerful persons in the name of the President and the Sports Minister are shown lambasting the media over the way they have been handling Semenya’s case, especially reports over the leaked gender testing result on Semenya by Australian media that the result shows that Semenya has both male and female organs. Besides the fact that the report seems to be gender aware, the fact that the narrator and the sources are of male dominance indicate the shortage of women representatives in the media either as sources or reporters. The story follows tracks of majority media reports about women where they are largely portrayed as victims rather than heroes. In spite of the fact that Semenya has won a Gold medal at the World Athletics Championship in Berlin, and ought to be a hero; she finds her self trying to deal with disgusting media report and her glory is taken by the men who constantly surround her for the entire story. In this way, the sources used in the story and the voice of a male reporter paint the story with a subtle gender are brush.

Nevertheless, the story reports that the father is very outraged by media reports that say she is not a woman. With reference to the video report the father deems those that say she is a man sick and crazy. This coupled with a massive following and appreciation during her arrival at her home in Limpopo indicate that despite gender examinations by the media and the IAAF the society is still aware that she is a woman, therefore, the report becomes gender aware. This is a very interesting scenario because usually, as everyone knows, the media has power to influence public perceptions about a certain issue or an individual. And in the Caster case, it seems the public are not allowing themselves to be influenced by the media but rather they are giving the necessary support to Semenya. No one know if it is the acts of patriotism or what but the issue here is that as much as the media is trying to perpetuate certain issues about Semenya the general public deny to be passive readers. This is a very interesting scenario because we see the public making their independent decisions rather than the media leading in decision making.

But considering that the story is centred on media reports on the gender testing results and the manner which they have been handling the entire issue, it does raise few questions as to the media role in the society. One would expect the media to fulfil its role by informing, educating and entertaining the society. But in the Semenya story one sees the media conducting its own gender tests on Semenya and going boldly as to releasing Semenya’s private information about her gender tests to the society. Hence we hear SA President Jacob Zuma saying that the country is facing a serious problem with regard to privacy. Zuma feels Semenya’s privacy has been violated. This also put to the front that the media seems to have crossed the line and infringe on Semenya’s rights to privacy. Hence the Minister of Sports Makhenkesi Stofile says he is disgusted by the media reports circulating that she does have male and female sex organs.

Discussion Questions
– Only men were sourced in this video reports. What does it say about the representation of women in the media?
– Do you thing it was ethical for the media to release Semenya’s gender test? What could you have done if you were an editor with such privileged information about Semenya?
– What causes the media to release such private information? What could be done to limit such incidents from occurring?
– Do you think Semenya’s privacy has been violated?

Training exercises
– Observe the media and look for stories about women. Who are the general sources? Do the sources represent women at large? This could be women reporters or women sources. Write a story that represent both women and men. Also share with your peers how you went about this.



Download : 10034_semenya_media_reports_slammed_0909.mpg

0 thoughts on “Semenya media reports slammed-Video Report”

angela matete says:

your writing is from a bias point of view or should i say patriotic. semanya gender controversy sized to be private the day she won the gold medal. it became of public interest.this gives the public a hearing to her true story

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