n Communicatio : South African Journal of Communication Theory and Research - Debating the media, shaping identity : postcolonial discourse and public criticism : communication, cultural and media studies

Volume 31, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0250-0167


Since democratisation of South Africa in the 1990s, the media has undergone change in a number of areas. Apart from the changes related to ownership, editorial staff and content, the media's position within society in general and in relation to government has also generated much debate. On several occasions these debates brought the media sector into conflict with the new government. This article argues that these debates have led to the emergence of a media discourse that also contributes to the construction of new social identities within post-apartheid South Africa. To illustrate this, some key statements on the role of the media in post-apartheid South Africa made by the South African president and the ruling party during 2002-04 are analysed. The question put forward is whether these statements cannot only be read normatively, that is, as a way of repositioning the media within a new democratic society, but also have bearing on the construction of post-apartheid identities.

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