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Critical thinking: German vs. RSA media

Since moving back to South Africa, I have been struck by how poor the standard of reporting is in this country. In particular, there is a lack of questioning about underlying causes. So often am I left wondering "Why?!" after reading an article in any of the SA papers. Statements and events are reported unquestioningly - the reason why cabinet voted one way and not the other is not investigated, nor is the gas emitted by decaying fish that kills 5 fisherman named.

In Germany, I had come to expect such investigations and in depth explanations, which I could then go and verify for myself in many cases.

I have since come to believe that the reason for this hole is twofold - first, the lower literacy rate means that some of the knowledge required to think about such questions and to find them interesting is missing. This is a problem in the education department. Secondly, such questions are not interesting because of the authoritarian manner of South African society (Heather wrote a great critique of a Carte Blanche wikipedia article, which echoes this sentiment). This manner is mutating and changing for the better I believe.

As we come to espouse and value other perspectives than ours, we come to see that facts often have a depth that extends beyond a binary black & white face value.

The internet promises great progress in the introduction of critical thinking and broadening of horizons, not only at schools like Zwelenqaba, but also in the developed areas of the planet.

Posted: September 7th 2007 08:39
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