1887

n Koers : Bulletin for Christian Scholarship = Koers : Bulletin vir Christelike Wetenskap - The dilemma of ethical political communication in South African elections

Volume 72, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 0023-270X
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Abstract


In view of South Africa's diversity, its unresolved issues of race and complex social legacy, election campaigns are highly sensitive. From a Reformed Christian perspective, a critical question is: To what extent is the political culture infused by the Biblical imperatives of brotherly love, respect and compassion? Given the growing use of adversarial political advertising the following two questions arise and are specifically addressed:
  1. Could it realistically be expected of Christian political communicators in a secular country such as South Africa to communicate with full respect to people at all times, or should they be excused if they try to win at all costs? and
  2. How do political theorists view the issue?
In answering these questions, social responsibility and the need for social harmony as precondition for free and fair political activities, as well as a Biblical perspective on communication are addressed. In view of these theoretical points of departure the role of emotional messages is discussed and evaluated. It is argued that all advertising, but specifically political advertising in an emotionally charged atmosphere such as an election campaign, could have a direct negative impact on social harmony and is therefore Biblically unacceptable. Examples from previous South African general elections are discussed and evaluated from a Biblical viewpoint.
It is argued that parties should not merely campaign with the aim of winning an election, but rather with the intention of respecting voters while campaigning. Simultaneously they could promote democracy within a fragile social context. Any victory outside of these parameters will not stand the test of a Biblical critique.
However, it would seem extremely difficult, if not impossible, to prescribe in any detail which types of negative advertisements are acceptable and which are not.


In die lig van Suid-Afrika se diverse samelewing, onopgeloste rassekwessies en 'n komplekse sosiale nalatenskap, is verkiesingsveldtogte hoogs sensitiewe aangeleenthede. Vanuit 'n reformatories-Christelike perspektief is 'n kritieke vraag die volgende: Tot watter mate is ons politieke kultuur deurdrenk met die Bybelse eise van naasteliefde, respek en medelye? Met die groeiende gebruik van politieke aanvalsadvertensies in gedagte, duik die volgende twee vrae op wat spesifiek aan die orde gestel word:
  1. Is dit realisties om van Christen-politieke kommunikeerders in 'n sekulêre samelewing soos Suid-Afrika te verwag om in alle gevalle respekvol met kiesers te kommunikeer, of kan hulle verskoon word as hulle probeer om 'n verkiesing ten alle koste te wen? en
  2. Hoe oordeel politieke kommunikasie-teoretici oor die saak?
Om hierdie vrae te help beantwoord, word 'n Bybelse perspektief op kommunikasie kortliks voorgehou. Verder word sosiale verantwoordelikheid en die noodsaaklikheid van sosiale harmonie as voorvereistes vir vrye en regverdige verkiesings bespreek. Laastens word die rol van emosioneelbelaaide boodskappe in 'n verkiesing bespreek en beoordeel.
Daar word geargumenteer dat reklame, veral politieke reklame, in 'n emosiebelaaide atmosfeer (soos 'n verkiesingsveldtog) 'n negatiewe uitwerking op sosiale harmonie kan hê. Toepaslike voorbeelde uit vorige Suid-Afrikaanse algemene verkiesings word bespreek en geëvalueer.
Die gevolgtrekking word gemaak dat politieke partye, vanuit 'n Bybelse perspektief, nie net stemme moet werf met die oog daarop om 'n verkiesing te wen nie, maar hulle moet met respek teenoor alle kiesers optree. Terselfdertyd kan stabiliteit en harmonie in die jong demokrasie bevorder word. Enige oorwinning buite hierdie parameters sal nie die toets van Bybelse kritiek kan deurstaan nie.
Dit is egter baie moeilik, indien nie onmoontlik nie, om gedetailleerde riglyne neer te lê oor watter tipe negatiewe boodskappe aanvaarbaar is en watter nie.

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/content/koers/72/3/EJC59322
2007-01-01
2016-12-10

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