Ann Crotty Writer-at-large

A headline reading "The vast majority of JSE-listed companies are law abiding, with reasonably effective corporate governance systems in place" is hardly one to sell newspapers. In the same way "No-one in the ANC was caught with a finger in the till today" would not attract many readers. The sad reality is that everyone, not just journalists, tends to focus on big, dramatic stories. We seem intent on spooking ourselves, rather like children transfixed by a scary movie. Such is the pace of progress in communications that we now have immediate access to details about every financial swindle, political scam or flood anywhere in the world. This makes it almost impossible to determine whether we are living in a more corrupt and dangerous world than before or are just more in touch and more aware of events than before. In addition, when it comes to financial and political wrongdoing, the spread of 20th-century Western-style democracy makes us less tolerant and more questioning of our lead...

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