DAMON LEFF. South African mainstream media is complicit in engendering moral panic. An unfair criticism of journalists, editors and media publications? No! Resurgent moral panic has taken hold of our nation’s psyche and the evidence suggests the South African media (with minuscule exception) is completely complicit.
Penton Independent Alternative Media Blog
FRANCISCO FUMAROLA. The SAPS are actively promoting Satanic Panic and discrimination in South Africa. This is due to the biased sources they draw upon, poorly defined and outright wrong definitions of “Satanism” and the “Occult” and the fact that they reflect solely the opinions of Christian sources. Mainstream Christianity is opposed to the “Occult” as certain occult practices are forbidden in the Bible (with passages open to interpretation and consideration of context). The term “Occult”, while meaning “hidden”, does not refer to clandestine, “evil” or illegal practices. It refers to the esoteric and inner traditions that lie behind all religions, including Christianity.
FRANCISCO FUMAROLA. A supposed member of the South African Police Service (SAPS) involved with Occult Related Crimes and their investigation came amidst the Pagan community in 2013 like a wolf in sheep’s clothing. SAPRA had already sent objections to the SAPS about the apparent revival of an Occult Related Crimes unit as revealed in a leaked memo from 2012. These objections by SAPRA have never received any kind of response from the SAPS. The only response made by the SAPS came through media statements where they kept repeating the same PR spin about “not discriminating against religious beliefs but investigating crimes”. Apparently “occult” and “satanic” crimes were suddenly a big issue –mainly actually due to false labeling of crimes as a result of shoddy education and the shoddy nature of sources used by the SAPS when it comes to the occult. To date, SAPRA’s valid objections still have not been addressed.
DAMON LEFF. Accusations of Witchcraft continue to discriminate against those accused, but they also serve to further marginalize an already existing religious minority that identifies Witchcraft as its religion. South African media, with very few exceptions, has paid scant attention to ongoing witch-hunts and even less to advocacy against witchcraft accusations in this country. In the name of the victims of witchcraft accusation past and present, I appeal to South African and international journalists and editors to demonstrate bold courage in supporting this ongoing struggle for human rights, justice and dignity in South Africa.
LESLEY MADYTINOS. The heroes of myths and legends hold a most important place within the allegories of the ancients and within human society, past and present. Regardless of whether these heroes arise from the mire of historical battle or focus upon an ordinary person faced with an extraordinary challenge, the motif of the path of the hero is identified by a personal choice made by the hero from which unfolds a particular course of action that embodies specific qualities. These heroic actions and the qualities they suggest become the values of any community of humans.
FRANCISCO FUMAROLA. Adele Neveling has been at it again, spreading misinformation about Satanism and the Occult. For some reason she was considered enough of an “expert” to advise Pennsylvanian police on a recent murder case. Apparently, if you have written a book and you have a story about being a former Satanist, you can be considered an “expert”. There is no need to check up on claims, claim you were a Satanist and you have now become a born-again Christian and it seems you are a serious source of information on the occult and Satanism – a pity Adele gets so many facts about contemporary Satanism and the Occult dead wrong.
DAMON LEFF. City Press journalist Nokuthula Manyathi incorrectly alleged that MWEB had apologised to SAPRA, and attributed a false statement to SAPRA’s director. But the article highlighted another common offending error, one committed by virtually all South African editors – an editorial stylebook bias against Pagans.
OBERON ZELL. It is a matter of continuing frustration to modern self-identified Pagans that newspaper and magazine copy editors invariably print the proper terms for their religion (i.e., “Pagan” and “Paganism”) in lower case. Journalists who have been confronted about this practice have replied that this is what the Associated Press and Chicago Stylebooks recommend.