WHEN IS AN AD NOT AN AD?
When it promotes the beauty of fair skin and so humiliates people born with dark skin; when it offers facial cream that it says will wipe out the black on the skin and reveal the white beneath it; when its goal is a covert paean to subtle racism;
An ad is not an ad when it promotes obscenity through publicizing material that arouses the basest of sexual instincts in people, when it focuses on revelatory female physique and provokes the carnal desires of men into arousal;
An ad is not an ad when it celebrates the beauty of tobacco, of the charm of cigarette-smoking because tobacco --- and cigarettes --- are a swift journey to bad health and likely premature death;
An ad is not an ad when it vilifies a person, when it ignores the fact that the person has had a case filed against her or him, when it papers over the truth behind the 'news' in the ad.
WHEN IS JOURNALISM NOT JOURNALISM?
When it blurs the distinction between professionalism and profit-making, when editors do not say 'No' to elements who do not deserve a 'Yes' and entertain their questionable motives for pecuniary gain;
When journalists observe manifest wrong being committed and pretend they do not see such transgressions before them.
WHEN ARE STATE SECRETS NOT STATE SECRETS?
When they lie scattered on bureaucratic tables, in full view of every visitor, with nary a thought to the sensitivities involved in such indefensible administrative behaviour;
When they militate against the public interest and are cited to preserve the corruption of men and women on the higher echelons of the state structure, to prevent justice from taking its natural course;
When they are based on laws that go back a century in time, when they let the ghosts of long-gone colonial powers arise from their rundown graves to frighten societies in modern times.
WHEN IS A LAW NOT A LAW?
When it undermines the fundamentals of a nation's constitution, when it drills holes into the structure of people's sovereignty; when it runs counter to the history of a people's fierce struggle for liberation;
When it lands with a thud on the right to free expression, when it warns citizens that they must not hear, must not see, must not speak;
When it punishes the purveyor of truth through binding him or her in handcuffs, when it pushes good, honest and conscientious people into an immensity of sufferings;
When it does not touch godfathers and their bands of criminals; when it makes it easy for the corrupt to fly off abroad in chartered aircraft amid a huge public outcry for them to be brought to justice over their criminality;
A law is not a law when those in authority tell citizens that the law will take its own course even as the law is being bent and subverted from within.