n Journal of Public Administration - Objective role of the South African media industry : the watchdogs for good governance and service delivery

Special issue 1
  • ISSN : 0036-0767



The South African media industry has since 1994 been expected to enjoy the freedom of reporting their news without hindrance by the state machinery. Such has been a dream wished by many news reporters of the past, most of who never lived to see the dream they wished for all their lives come to pass. However, the post-apartheid legislation governing the media industry and freedom of the press has drawn contradictory responses, depending on the standpoint of the observer in relation to the fairness and intrusions into private spaces of the news in question. That is, objectivity and accuracy of journalistic reporting is relative, and it reflects the attitude and bias of the public and those who steal the headlines in the exposés. Whereas in South African government administration circles the role of the media is perceived subjectively depending on who among the rulers, public figures and opposition parties has been hurt by the reporting, citizens seem to generally view both the independent print, audio and audio-visual media as watchdogs that keep the politicians on their toes, practising good governance and accelerating the rate of service delivery in the country. This article, therefore, analyses the role of the media industry in South Africa and the extent to which their activities promote good governance and the acceleration of the delivery of services to its citizens.

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