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Volume 19, Issue 1_2, 2005
The African National Congress, the print media and the development of mediated politics in South AfricaAuthor Alexander JohnstonSource: Critical Arts : A Journal of South-North Cultural and Media Studies 19, pp 12 –35 (2005)More Less
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 <i>Americanisation</i> (Negrine 1996), national political cultures can be resilient and stubborn in the way they accept, adapt or reject the processes of mediated politics.
Which public? Whose interest? The South African media and its role during the first ten years of democracySource: Critical Arts : A Journal of South-North Cultural and Media Studies 19, pp 36 –51 (2005)More Less
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.
Author Inaki Garcia BlancoSource: Critical Arts : A Journal of South-North Cultural and Media Studies 19, pp 52 –60 (2005)More Less
Intellectuals from countries that have experienced a recent transition from dictatorship to democracy tend to stay alert to all the political shifts and signs that may indicate that the democracy is already a consolidated reality in the country. The comments on these slight signs that show the stability of the democracy are normally the result of the comparison of this democracy with those democracies that are considered to be exemplary. When trying to show that the democracy in Spain is a stable reality, it is also common to take into account the political crises that this concrete country has faced successfully, that is, those occasions on which democracy was put at risk but were solved by reinforcing the democratic system.
Author Ragnar WaldahlSource: Critical Arts : A Journal of South-North Cultural and Media Studies 19, pp 61 –73 (2005)More Less
The 2000 parliamentary election was the first Zimbabwean election in which the media situation gave the opposition against President Robert Mugabe and his Zimbabwe African National Union Patriotic Front (ZANU (PF)) a fair possibility to inform the voters about the political situation in the country. Even if ZANU (PF) still controlled radio and television, a few newspapers opposed to the regime had been established toward the end of the 1990s. This article discusses three political consequences of this new situation: Which way did the new media situation influence the election campaign agenda? How did the media present the conduct of the election in the light of generally accepted democratic rules? What did the media tell voters about the political violence that took place during the election campaign?
Source: Critical Arts : A Journal of South-North Cultural and Media Studies 19, pp 74 –111 (2005)More Less
This study offers an account of the campaigning of the three main political parties involved in the 1994 national general election in South Africa through a close reading of their paid advertisements in the mainstream print media. Prior to the 1994 elections, the use of political advertising in the lead-up to elections was sporadic. The first democratic elections changed all the rules of engagement: while there were no television advertisements, there were largescale, expensive and complex print campaigns. The narrative approach followed in this article traces the symbology, coherence and arguments marshalled by the political parties, illustrating that parties were able to draw on already-established repertoires of accepted symbols, tapping into the deep-rooted fears, desires, aspirations and historical loyalties of their established constituencies.
The integration of emotional and cognitive messages in election campaigns : a South African case studySource: Critical Arts : A Journal of South-North Cultural and Media Studies 19, pp 112 –126 (2005)More Less
A substantial amount of political communication research in the Western world has focused on the question of whether images instead of issues are emphasised in election campaign messages. The underlying concern is that voters need information in order to make informed voting decisions. In this article the argument is that, if this is a concern in well-established democracies, it should be an even bigger concern in a young democracy. <br>This article posits that image and issue messages are interrelated, and that both have to be addressed in elections. To explore this argument the concept of images is defined more broadly. In literature on campaigns in the United States of America (US), image is often equated with the personal characteristics of the candidate. Here the argument is that 'image' and 'issues' are interrelated because issues could contribute to the image of the party. Against this background, the authors, refer to emotional and cognitive messages. They assume that typical election issues (emotional messages) should be used to attract voters' attention. However, this is not enough since these issues should be explained in greater detail and contextualised within a young democracy. <br>The research question for this article is thus: to what extent were emotional and cognitive messages integrated during the 1999 general elections in the North - West Province of South Africa. An extensive qualitative analysis of all relevant material (i.e., party manifestos, newspaper advertisements, radio advertisements, pamphlets, posters and Websites) indicates that South African political parties placed much less emphasis on the 'image' of the party or its leader than happens in a mature democracy such as that of the US. This did not imply that the substance of the message was emphasised adequately, because the cognitive and emo- tional campaign messages were not fully integrated. While the focus was on typical election issues, they were not fully explained and contextualised.
Author Sally-Ann MurraySource: Critical Arts : A Journal of South-North Cultural and Media Studies 19, pp 127 –149 (2005)More Less
This article analyses aspects of the 'AlienBusters' campaign against 'invasive aliens', initiated in 2000 by Working for Water in an attempt to communicate to a broad South African public the urgent national responsibility for the control of invasive alien plants. The campaign was envisaged by the South African Department of Water Affairs and Forestry as a creative intervention in the government's management of environmental issues because it used strategies drawn from advertising and marketing in an attempt to persuade people to change attitudes and behaviours towards invasive alien plants. In addition, the campaign used fiction techniques and popular cultural references in order to attract its audience's attention. However, the discussion highlights tensions among the assumptions and methods that inform the campaign, situating design, image, narrative and characterisation in relation to volatile, often contradictory, forms of lived experience and symbolic meaning. Focusing on the key message platform of the campaign, the <i>AlienBuster</i> comic book, I argue that the campaign mistakenly emphasised metaphoric transcendence and formulaic narrative resolution over a recognition of material vicissitudes, and that this underplayed important aspects of Working for Water's existing social responsibility initiatives of Working for Water, rendering the campaign unable to accommodate the moral-experiential ambiguity associated with forms of environmental 'alienation' and 'belonging' in contemporary South Africa.
Author Nicola J. JonesSource: Critical Arts : A Journal of South-North Cultural and Media Studies 19, pp 150 –166 (2005)More Less
The article examines the coverage of violent conflict between the African National Congress (ANC) and Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), commonly referred to as the <i>Natal violence, </i> by three newspapers in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, from 1987 to 2000. It attempts briefly to unravel the ideological and political construction of violence through comparative analysis of newspaper headlines and stories, and demonstrates a breakdown in ethical reporting during the years of apartheid, that has shadowed journalists into the new millennium.
Source: Critical Arts : A Journal of South-North Cultural and Media Studies 19, pp 167 –186 (2005)More Less
In 1999 the South African media was the subject of a South African Human Rights Commission inquiry into racism. This article explores the discursive practices deployed by mainstream newspapers in response to these accusations of racism. It shows how several interlocking strategies of denial were used to remodel the field of racist practices and representations into a terrain suited to preserving white privilege. Specifically, the media used strategies of splitting, (dis)locating, relativising, trivialising, de-racialising and, ultimately, reversing racism. By constructing the terrain of racism in this way, the South African media were able to sidestep criticism by developing 'acceptable' arguments for reasonable prejudice that marginalise black experience.
African posters, Giorgio Miescher and Dag Henrichsen
Images of defiance : South African resistant posters of the 1980s (reprint), The Posterbook Collective : book reviewAuthor Deidre DonnellySource: Critical Arts : A Journal of South-North Cultural and Media Studies 19, pp 187 –195 (2005)More Less
Safundi : South Africa and the United States compared : The best of Safundi, 2003-2004, Christopher Saunders, Andrew Offenburger and Christopher J. Lee : book reviewSource: Critical Arts : A Journal of South-North Cultural and Media Studies 19, pp 196 –200 (2005)More Less
Putting Africa first : The making of African innovation systems, Mammo Muchie, Peter Gammeltoft and Bengt-Ake Lundvall : book reviewAuthor Sydney F. KankuziSource: Critical Arts : A Journal of South-North Cultural and Media Studies 19, pp 201 –203 (2005)More Less
Power and press freedom in Liberia, 1830-1970 : The impact of globalization and civil society on media-government relations, C. P. Burrowes : book reviewSource: Critical Arts : A Journal of South-North Cultural and Media Studies 19, pp 204 –207 (2005)More Less