Mauritius is a democratic country and a free press is the embodiment of any thriving democracy. Among the most popular newspapers in Mauritius, there are Le Defi, L’Express, Le Mauricien, Le Matinal, Week-End and 5-Plus. The fundamental roles of newspapers are to inform, educate and entertain. Do our local newspapers fulfill their roles effectively?
Le Defi was originally published only on Saturdays as Le Defi Plus but its rapid popularity led to its expansion into further publications per week namely Le Defi Quotidien, Le Defi Sexo, Defi Jeunes, L’Hebdo and News On Sunday. The best part of Le Defi is the language simplicity as it is aimed towards common people. Both a dholl puri seller and a businessman could easily understand the articles which is not the case with L’express.
Defi Media Group positions itself as the future leader of written press in Mauritius. This may be due to the fact that it has been able to reach a vast audience due to its language and sensationalism. Defi Media is one of the newspapers which focus on the human aspect first rather than the incident itself. The reporters are willing to go to extra miles to grab information.
However, it has also been noted that Defi often exaggerates over petty matters and it has also been cautioned of propagating unconfirmed rumours. Le Defi does not revolve around facts and figures but in turn it spices up the actualities, accidents, political affairs and so on. It sure knows how to please the eyes and mind of the public as Mauritians have a knack for sensational news.
L’Express has been criticized a lot recently of being biased and totally against the government. But, no other newspapers in Mauritius provide such an extensive section to “Petites Annonces” like L’Express does. Also, it is reputed for publishing ‘direct to the point’ articles; no dramas, no additional falsities to attract buyers.
On the other hand, due to its complicated French (for many) writings, it restricts itself to a limited audience. Furthermore, it attacks the government directly which may not please some readers. Constructive criticism is always welcome but when it is the other way round, it angers some people. Sometimes, we may not get value for money when buying the newspaper due to excessive advertisements bombarding almost all the pages.
Compared with the others, Le Matinal is a newly created newspaper and though new, I have heard loads of praises glorifying the way information is imparted through Le Matinal. The language is nor too easy neither too difficult and hence, it can reach a large amount of people. Le Matinal publishes nearly all PSC government communiqués resulting in its high sale.
I don’t know if you have noticed but most of the articles in Le Matinal are an altered form of those on the net (COPIED articles). Most of its resources are from the web rather than actual news reporting. This also lead us to think, why must we read Le Matinal when all their international articles are fully copied from other sources.
Le Mauricien and Weekend
Le Mauricien is the only newspaper which is published in the afternoon from Monday to Friday. Week-End which comes out on Sundays belongs to Le Mauricien Group and is one of the finest Sunday newspapers. Scope emphasizes mainly on entertainment by providing data on movies, music, caricatures, sports, horoscopes and many other things. Le Mauricien has since long been the favorite of locals but it has gradually lost most of its regular readers.
Other newspapers like 5-Plus is on the same wavelength as Le Defi Plus and both of them have been labeled ‘la gazette palab’ by the population.
It is interesting to note that some newspapers do receive subsidies from the government while some are empowered by the opposition. Our press was supposed to be free, right? Yet many politicians manipulate the information need to be imparted to the population. Now, we ask ourselves:
- Do what is written in there are completely credible?
- Before publishing, do the government officials go through some newspapers and morph the information according to their ease and benefits?
- Is the media completely free in Mauritius?
Well, let’s just say that freedom of expression is 95 % prevalent in Mauritius and the remaining 5% is the part where politicians tamper with this universal right.
Some newspapers also breeds misconceptions and confusions in people’s mind while some intrude in personal affairs of the public. Some reporters do not respect the private life of people and publish spicy and sensational news in a bid to soar their sales. Journalists should learn to discriminate between information and intrusion.
But, nothing can be claimed to be perfect, right? The newspapers do fulfill their responsibilities to a certain maximum. And, who do not aspire for profits? They are only humans. Newspapers have been a great help to the Mauritian public in disseminating important news as we do not receive much information from the local television.
The Maya Hanoomanjee affair, the Air Mauritius hedging problem, the MedPoint issue and so on were masterfully covered and published by local newspapers while we sat in vain in front of our television set watching mostly irrelevant news. Moreover, Mauritius has reached a stage whereby the local newspapers could be read and downloaded from the web. It makes life easier for youngsters who just sit in front of their pc rather than going out to buy a newspaper. It is also cost effective. It is just a matter of a click and all the latest Mauritius updates are in front of you!
So much said, now all of you must have your own opinion of which one is the best newspaper according to you and which one serves its purposes to the optimum. You must have a preference for a specific newspaper because it catches your eyes, or the information is to the point or the format of the newspaper is to your taste.
Now we would request you to cast your votes on your favorite local newspaper.