n Critical Arts : A Journal of South-North Cultural and Media Studies - Which public? Whose interest? The South African media and its role during the first ten years of democracy

Volume 19, Issue 1_2
  • ISSN : 0256-0046



A number of salient issues arose in the South African media landscape during the first ten years of its democracy. This article outlines the significant changes brought about by democratisation, such as the shift from governmental control to self-regulation and ownership changes. The focus is on conflicts between the mainstream media sector and the new democratic government, especially as these conflicts relate to the difference in understanding the media's role in post-apartheid society, that is, whether the media should serve the 'public interest' or the 'national interest'. In discussing these debates, the article contrasts the theoretical perspectives of functionalism and critical theory.

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