Rhinoceros Newsmaker of the Year 2012: NPC

First Posted: Jan 21, 2013 09:38 AM EST

Rhinos in South Africa have been named as the newsmaker of the year 2012 by the National Press Club. This is because of the increasing rate of rhino poaching, which has been in the news the entire year. It has evoked strong emotions.

"The onslaught on these African giants has not only resulted in much debate in the country and elsewhere in the world, but has also united people to rally behind campaigns against the bleeding of our heritage. It is critical for governments, corporates, individuals and the media to stand up and take action to stop the killing of our rhinos," says Antoinette Slabbert, the National Press Club Chairperson in a press statement.

This decision is based on the account of impact, news value, media attention and social media it generated.

South Africa is home to about three-quarters of Africa's 20,000 white rhinos and 4,800 critically endangered black rhinos. According to the release, the statistics state that last year, nearly 668 rhinos were poached. This number surpasses the 2011 record of 449 rhinos. They are being slaughtered because of the growing demand for rhino horn in Asia's black market. The value of a rhino horn is about $25,000 per pound. Apart from this, they are believed to possess some medicinal properties.

This recognizes and appreciates the efforts put in by the locals and other officials in protecting theses endangered species and putting an end to poaching.

But soon after this announcement, the National Press Club was criticized for its wrong decisions.

The former chairperson Yusuf Abramjee was quoted in News 24 as stating, "The announcement came as a surprise and shock to me. I agree rhinos were in the news in 2012, but newsmaker? Surely not."

Political analyst Eusebius Mckaiser wrote on Twitter, "The NPC didn't really declare The Rhino Newsmaker of 2012 did it? I'd sooner declare @chestermissing newsmaker of 2012!"

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