EC Mirror Refuses to Shine Light on Gay March – Aug 18, 2011


Quoted from the MyPE website:

18 AUGUST 2011 BY

Eastern Cape Gay & Lesbian Association Director, Christina Engela, is hard at work promoting Port Elizabeth‘s first ever Pride event on 24 September 2011. (See: Born This Way for more info).

Now, promoting an event can be a pretty thankless endeavour when dealing with the media – some are mature enough to handle your requests in such a way that they build up your skills and, at the same time, manage to make their lives easier and some will knock you down no matter what.

I have learnt that if something comes across my desk that does not quite fit into our somewhat loose editorial policy of; “if it has to do with Port Elizabeth then it is in” then just ignoring it and not commenting is enough. BUT, entering into a debate over the merits or de-merits of a press release does tend to get counter productive, after all we are part of a multi faceted and dynamic community with one of the most tolerant constitutions in the world.

Apparently the EC Mirror down in Jeffreys Bay has something of a death wish though as their reaction to a request to publicise the upcoming Gay Pride event on 24 September shows;

“As far as I understand it, Pride is an organization which promotes and sympathises with the cause of Homosexuals. However, practising homosexuals are acting directly acting against God’s Holy Word as laid down in the Bible. So although we are not judging practising homosexuals, (God is the only judge of all our actions) we wish to try and live in accordance with God’s principles.

Therefore we will not be promoting this kind of function at all.

Please do not send us anything to do with Pride.

The Hope Clinic is a completely different issue, however, and we have tried our best to promote this for you because we feel the Hope Clinic does a huge amount of good work in the community. Congratulations on the Hope Clinic and we wish you all the best.

Thank You
The Publisher
EC Mirror

Christina Engela then wrote what she felt to be an appropriate response – EC Mirror Casts Poor Reflection.

Dear EC Mirror,

Your response to a request for publicity of an event in NMB Pride has reference.

Pride is an event which promotes tolerance, equality and celebrates the human and civil rights of people who have suffered and still suffer daily prejudice and persecution resulting from a lack of education and human rights values.

The NMB Pride is an event geared towards raising awareness of our existence as a community and our human rights, while also building good will between the Pink Community and the rest of Port Elizabeth by means of peaceful social interaction while raising funds for local charities and generating tourism income for local businesses.

These goals are made all the more difficult by individuals who eagerly apply prejudice and discrimination without any justifiable reason, and by contradiction, simply encourage animosity.

Shouldn’t the “EC Mirror”, as a public newspaper, be concerning itself with publishing news and items of public interest in the Eastern Cape – instead of policing or censoring these? How do personal religious values have any relevance to reporting on events in the real world? Is the EC Mirror a religious newsletter, or a real newspaper?

The Pink Community is part of the public too – and as tax-paying and contributing citizens of South Africa and residents of the Eastern Cape, we do not appreciate being discriminated against. Are you aware that unfair discrimination is illegal? Have you ever heard of the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act, No. 4 of 2000?

If this is the case, then your publication has been poorly named – because then the “EC Mirror” does not give a true reflection of events in the Eastern Cape, but rather only a cherry-picked and distorted view excluding the reality that we live here too – and that we might also be interested in being informed of social events in our area which concern us.

By your criticism and refusal to publicize the item forwarded to you, your claim to “not judge” is proven to be a blatant lie. Add to that the very fact that your email was unnecessary. Why reply with hostility and offensive remarks when you could just have ignored the Pride email – or kept it to a request to not be sent future material about the NMB Pride? Surely that would have sufficed?

By your own words and uncharitability, you mark yourself as a poor example for professional journalism – and in my opinion, your hypocrisy and piety are an embarrassment to people of your faith who do good for others and try to make the world a better place, instead of breaking down those who do. If I were still a Christian I would be ashamed for your part.

Your statement regarding Hope Clinic is nothing less than an insult – for you imply that one form of community service by the Pink Community is “good work” while community service which benefits our own community is not – based simply on who we are and who we choose to help, in relation to your prejudices. It is my understanding that you were quite willing to promote our efforts to support Hope Clinic in the past – and considering that the Hope Clinic is where it is today primarily because of the efforts of those who helped build and support it, and got it off the ground, who are members of the Pink Community – you demonstrate a very skewed view of the world.

In closing, I have subsequently learned that your publication is a free hand-out with limited readership. Your remarks demonstrate to me clear opposition to the human rights values enshrined in the SA Constitution, as well as a lack of compassion, ubuntu, common decency – and good manners. Consequently, we will no longer consider the services of EC Mirror sufficient, appropriate or befitting our worthy cause, and therefore NMB Pride and ECGLA formally disassociate ourselves from you.

Christina Engela
Eastern Cape Gay & Lesbian Association: Director

Well, the debate about who is right and who is wrong should be interesting. Let the games begin and let’s hear what you have to say.

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