oa Communicare : Journal for Communication Sciences in Southern Africa - Information trends in South Africa with specific reference to the development of an information policy for the electronic media
The information society in South Africa seems to be much more complex and much less predictable than those in most other countries. In many respects it is a First World country In terms of technology, sophisticated media and computerisation. From that viewpoint, it faces the same kind of complexities than any other technological society. On the other hand, it is also a Third World country and an integral part of Africa: from that viewpoint it also has to face a different kind of complexity, namely that of languages, cultures, life-style, etc. This makes it difficult to assess and anticipate the effects of global information trends such as information overload, alienation and resistance, the information paradox and the information elite. In planning an information strategy for the country, it seems that thorough analysis of the different audiences end their information needs, accompanied by a careful segmentation strategy, is a very high priority. Deregulation and privatisation of the electronic media are also advocated, despite financial difficulties and the risk of information overload. This will call for a greater responsibility and gate keeping function on the part of communication practitioners in South Africa. Possible options regarding a deregulation policy for the electronic media in South Africa are also explored.
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