S. African media criticized for 'bad publicity'

Source:Xinhua Published: 2014-2-6 9:32:22

South African parliamentarians on Wednesday joined the government in criticizing the media for "bad publicity" about the country.

Bad publicity about the country scares away tourists, the Parliament's Portfolio Committee on Tourism said in response to media reports about rising crime in the country.

"Bad publicity affects our country in the world tourism market, " Committee Chairperson Don Gumede said. "South Africa is competing in a very competitive international tourism market."

He said the committee was informed by the management of Table Mountain National Park that crime stories impacted negatively on the number of tourists visiting Table Mountain, a tourist attraction in Cape Town.

An increase in attacks on tourists visiting Table Mountain over the past few months has raised safety concerns. In two separate incidents in December, an Australian woman and a Canadian man were robbed by criminals disguised as hikers.

Crime stories about Table Mountain also affect tourism in Johannesburg, KwaZulu-Natal and the rest of the country, said Gumede.

The media has a critical role to play in attracting more tourists to the country, said Gumede.

"It is everyone's responsibility to build a strong and competitive South African economy. For the sake of our country, better working relations need to be crafted with the media. The tourism industry needs to create jobs, and grow the economy."

Gumede also urged the management to provide the media with information, and not to wait until the media found negative stories.

The Table Mountain National Park has decided to beef up its security by employing rangers on full-time basis, working with the community and retired rangers, ensuring regular patrols, and establishing a dog unit.

The government has criticized the media for negative coverage of the country.

Last year, South African President Jacob Zuma hit out at the South African media for always reporting the negative while neglecting the positive.

The media has been concentrating on "opposite of the positive," Zuma told a group of journalism students from the Tshwane University of Technology who were invited to attend a joint Parliament sitting in Cape Town in September.

Too much negative reporting makes people dislike their country, Zuma noted.

Posted in: Africa

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