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“MBC reporter in porno stuff”, “Malopa took Kachitsa’s porn picture”
 
 
(2)
 
 
These articles discuss a recent Malawian ‘sex scandal’ in which pornographic photographs of a journalist from the national broadcaster (MBC) were circulated and published by a daily newspaper.
This article may be used to:
  • discuss rights to privacy, and profile and obvious breach of that right;
  • show how professional women are judged by their private lives;
  • discuss how women’s sexuality is used to discredit their achievements or credentials; and
  • show how the media uses sex and explicit images of women to sell papers.
Trainer’s notes
These articles, about a supposed sex scandal involving a Malawian journalist and her boss, show no regard for a person’s right to privacy, perpetuate negative perceptions of women’s sexuality, and play into the notion that a professional woman’s private life is fair game for open discussion.
 
The images used in these articles exemplify society’s perceptions around women’s and men’s sexuality, as well as the acceptability of certain sexual acts. While Katchisa is shown in a typical ‘porn’ pose – nude and spread-eagled on a blanket – her boss Bright Malope is pictured in business attire, in what appears to be a corporate photograph. This implies that Malope’s involvement is somehow more innocent than Katchisa’s, that there is nothing wrong with what he did, that he is still an upstanding citizen. It implies that Katchisa is some kind of porn star, that what she did was inexcusable. One can read from these images that, for men, pornographic photography is normal and perfectly acceptable, but for women, it is heinous and immoral.
 
This is linked to the double standard that society holds around women and sex. On the one hand, women are expected to the chaste and virginal, and on the other, they are highly sexualised and exploited.
 
Malope and Katchisa took the pictures in the privacy of their own bedroom for personal use, and as one article states, there is no law against this. In addition, it was a private act between two consenting adults, and therefore should not be subject to public scrutiny, regardless of society’s moral stance on pornography. However, both articles treat Katchisa is if she has committed a crime, lumping her ‘sex scandal’ in with others that have a clear criminal nature, i.e. rape cases. One article even goes so far as to attempt to link her with other criminal activities, citing a case in which she was arrested in Britain on suspicion of child trafficking. She was, in fact, simply escorting a relative, but the article plays up the arrest more than necessary. It is a clear attempt to make her appear disreputable.
 
Professional men are often involved in sexual scandals and are almost never shown in compromising positions or depicted as disreputable people. There is a definite ‘boys will be boys’ attitude that comes into play when dealing with professional men’s sexuality. Generally speaking, unless the sex act directly breaks a law, men’s sexual scandals are treated lightly and easily excused. Women, however, are vilified, sexualised and discredited when their private sexual lives are revealed.
 
Although these articles (aside from the images) appear to report the facts of the case, they distinctly skew the reader’s opinions against Katchisa, painting her as a porn star rather than a professional woman with a normal, healthy sex life.
 
Discussion questions
  • Does the media has a responsibility to point out human rights abuses, or should reporters simply ‘report the facts’?
  •  Why do you think that Katchisa was pictured nude while Malope was pictured in business attire?
  • How do you think these kinds of images affect common perceptions about women?
  • How do you think this type of ‘scandal’ would be treated if the image featured a naked man? Would it be as newsworthy? How would the, in this case, female photographer be treated? Would the newspaper choose to publish the nude photo of the man, or would it find a clothed photo? Discuss and debate participants answers.
Training exercise
  • In groups, compare and contrast the images in these two articles. They picture both of the people involved in the scandal, but in very different ways. What does this say about the reporters’ attitudes towards men’s sexuality and women’s sexuality? Why did the author of “MBC reporter in porno stuff” choose to show such an explicit image? What other words or images come to mind when you see the two pictures? What kinds of images would have been more appropriate?
  • In groups, point out places where the articles report unnecessary facts, include personal opinion, or lead the reader to form a particular opinion about Katchisa or Malope. Have each group discuss their findings.
  • Rewrite the article in a more objective way, using the information the journalists have provided. Alternately, try writing the article from a human rights perspective, a feminist perspective, or as an editorial.
Files to download:
  MBC Reporter in porno NyasaTimes3Sept08 Malawi (2) - 28 KB
  Malopa took Kachitsa's porn picture NyasaTimes12Sept08 Malawi (2) - 19 KB
 
 
Comments
 
 
Innocent mhango says:
Where is this country going?
29 December 10
 
 
andre rico harare says:
zochititsa manyazi please be serious ndinu athu akulu akulu we must take an good example from you
27 February 11
 
 
Francisco Gwazila says:
This is totally intolerable behaviour.In fact you are role models so why not displaying good characters for we youths to emulate?Perhaps its the sign of the times what else can we say?...
11 May 11
 
 
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