Features

Mass media: Capitalist-exploiters tool of choice

CHISALA

CHARLES CHISALA
THE major outcome of this global information age is the mass media bombardment in which there is so much misinformation that no one can recognise what is ash and what is essence; what is dust and what is embryo.
Consequently, the general public continues being manipulated left and right by every Jack and Jim, being turned into puppets or moved around like pieces on a chessboard.
Unfortunately, the preoccupation of foreign-sponsored civil society groups is to cause national confusion using the mass media.
They have now transformed criticism into one of our national sports, continually leading people into habitually focusing on the bad.
These foreign-funded groups are training this young nation into the culture of negativism.
Criticalness leads to discontent; discontent expels appreciation and gratitude into every sphere of life.
It is unfortunate that opposition political parties and their allies have also joined the bandwagon without realising that at one point they, too, will be the victims.
It is apparent that the mission assignment of the civil society groups in Zambia from their paymasters is just to criticise, criticise and criticise a government in power and nothing else.
Their routine job after their delicious breakfast is just to go about with X-ray glasses on, to detect government mistakes and exaggerate or create something to throw at the rulers where necessary.
This is why when he was minister of Finance, Ng’andu Magande said the money given to NGOs was not properly accounted for and the donors didn’t bother to ask how and where it had been taken. (Zambia Daily Mail, June 21, 2007).
Akin to the current situation in Zambia, former South African President PW Botha actually hit the nail on the head when he said the white man would use the African’s love of money to destroy him.
“Here is a creature who lacks foresight,’’ he said.
And indeed, as now, the capitalist-exploiter has in desperation unleashed a vicious smear campaign by discrediting the Patriotic Front (PF) government as having sold out Zambia’s sovereignty to China through the usual public relations tactics without any thread of evidence.
Admittedly, the capitalist-exploiter has a sharp instinct or genius for colonising weaker nations.
His unequalled energy and indomitable perseverance make him a pioneer. He is a great strategist and well blessed with the gift of wit, leads with truth but never to truth.
However, it was the great Greek philosopher Socrates who felt that it was necessary to create mental tensions so that individuals could rise from bondage of political myths and half-truths to the unfettered realm of creative and objective analysis.
In this case the authenticity of one’s choice must be promoted by his ability to understand, at least, the falseness of the conditions under which he must choose so that he can rise from the bondage of falsehood to the majestic heights of understanding.
The capitalist-exploiter has for years used the tactics of public relations to influence or even change governments.
For example, Udo Froese, in a popular German magazine Stem, described how a multinational fruit company, which is the United States’ banana empire, aggressively and unscrupulously reduced independent and sovereign Central American countries to banana republics.
The company in the shortest span of time controlled over 75 percent of the banana markets in the entire US.
It had vast plantations in Columbia, Costa Rica, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Panama and Honduras.
Shortly thereafter, it transferred its head office to Guatemala as it did not have to pay taxes or any customs duty there.
However, in 1950 things went horribly bad for the company: Guatemala’s new President Jacobo Arbenz nationalised the company’s prime land and handed it over to small-scale farmers to empower citizens.
The US-based banana empire then hired public relations expert Edward Bernays, whose sustained campaign focused on Guatemala’s head of state and his government, making every effort to undermine him and smearing them as a “Communist”.
Under the code name ‘Operation Success’, the US intelligence allegedly began to supply the rebel movement Contrus with arms and ammunition to accelerate regime change.
In June 1954, President Arbenz was ousted. The US government’s Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) installed rebel leader Castillo Armas as the new president.
And all the small-scale farmers were chased from the land that had been nationalised.
Finally, Guatemala, a formerly independent and sovereign nation, was reduced to a ‘banana republic’.
Zambians must be aware that this is the same tactic now playing out concerning the country’s bilateral relations with other countries.
To be continued…..
The author is Zambia Daily Mail production editor.

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