n Critical Arts : A Journal of South-North Cultural and Media Studies - The African National Congress, the print media and the development of mediated politics in South Africa

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



Modern politics are largely mediated politics, experienced by the great majority of citizens at one remove, through their print and broadcast media of choice. Any study of democracy in contemporary conditions is therefore also a study of how the media report and interpret political events and issues <br>This article shares in broad terms the global assumptions summarised by Brian McNair in this epigraph. However, it is mindful of the need, recognised by a recent text on 'de-Westernising' media studies, for a 'contingent and variable understanding of the place of the media in society' and for 'a greater sense of difference and variability than is usually registered in media theory' (Curran and Myung-Jin Park 2000, 15). It is in this spirit that the article tries to apply insights about mediated politics to contemporary South Africa. More specifically, it is guided by curiosity about the collision between national political systems and cultures, and various universalising forces in political values and ideology, as well as in the technology and political economy of the media. It is commonplace now to recognise, across the whole range of news and entertainment in the media, that globalisation is not all one-way traffic (Curran and Myung-Jin Park 2000, 7-8). Similarly, despite global trends in political communication that have been labelled &lt;i&gt;Americanisation&lt;/i&gt; (Negrine 1996), national political cultures can be resilient and stubborn in the way they accept, adapt or reject the processes of mediated politics.

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