By NYX MCLEAN and ROD AMNER
On Thursday morning, we shared another story about the Makana Citizens Front (MCF) and the moment we had been anticipating arrived. Someone said that we seemed to be the mouthpiece of MCF.
We had been expecting this criticism because we had yet to receive any communication from any other political party. So the majority of our stories on the local elections had centred on the MCF.
This, we recognised, put us at risk of seeming only to be reporting on the MCF.
Grocott’s Mail is not a mouthpiece to any political party. We are committed to fair and balanced coverage of the local elections.
The story we had posted was from a press release sent to us by the MCF about the ‘right to recall’ clause in their code of conduct. The idea that voters could ‘fire’ under-performing councillors is a novel and welcome development in local politics.
At the time of sharing, we had two other election stories on other political parties going through editing before going up on our website: grocotts.co.za
On Thursday afternoon, we began presenting a series of profiles on candidates vying for your votes. The first featured Anelisa Bentele, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) councillor candidate for Ward 9. Others will soon follow.
The media are essential to democracy, and a democratic election is impossible without media. A free and fair election is not only about ensuring adequate information about parties, policies, and candidates, the freedom to vote and the knowledge of how to cast a vote. It should also be a genuinely participatory process where voters engage in public debate and deliberation.
For this reason, Grocott’s is not just interested in the usual election horse race stories: who will win and what the parties and candidates are saying to win. We are keen to understand your thoughts as citizens as you prepare to vote. What do you care about, and how are you describing what is important to you in this election?
To this end, we commit to putting our ears to the ground and listening to you. Ultimately, you should be the ones setting the agenda for these elections. Not the politicians.
Those engaging with us on our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/grocotts would have noticed that we are currently sharing calls for the Makhanda community to engage with the live local government election debates brought to us by Rhodes University’s School of Journalism and Media Studies.
The election debates have been presented as a series of three, the first was on Thursday 30 September, the second on Thursday 7 October, and the last one will be on Thursday 14 October at 6 pm.
If you missed the first two debates, you could watch them here: https://www.facebook.com/RhodesJMS, where they are live-streamed and then available afterwards for you to view in your own time.
We are committed to fair and balanced coverage of the local elections. If any political party wants to contact us, they can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or messaging us through the Facebook Messenger app.
But, more importantly, we are committed to grassroots coverage of this election. If any of our readers would like to articulate their thoughts and feelings about this election, we would especially like to hear from you.