Media crackdown 'about control'

2010-09-22 08:01
Cape Town - The government's proposed media crackdown should be seen in the context of its own crisis of legitimacy, Mail and Guardian editor Nic Dawes said on Tuesday.

The issue was not about metropolitan journalists trampling on people's rights, but of control, he told a panel discussion in Cape Town.

"I think that really the reason we've seen the debate ratchet up to this level now is not that the press has suddenly become much worse than it was five years ago or ten years ago, but that there's a crisis of hegemony within the governing party," he said.

Crisis of legitimacy


"That is to say, it's no longer in control of itself and its relations with its alliance partners.

"And also a crisis of legitimacy."

That crisis was not expressed at the ballot box yet, but had been clearly shown in the recent public sector strike.

The fact that the tripartite alliance, involving the unions, had been unable to settle the dispute with a wage offer of more than twice inflation represented an extraordinary moment in the life of that arrangement, and of South Africa's social contract.

It had not been an accident that in all the debate around the strike, the question of ministerial perks, smart cars and hotel stays had featured regularly.

Dawes said he believed there was deep and profound anxiety about the survival of the arrangement that had served to keep the transition to democracy "more or less on track" for the past 16 years.

"Some of it [the pressure on the media] to be sure is individuals who feel hurt and injured by things that the press has done to expose their misconduct," he said.

"But the wider question is about democratic legitimacy and the survival of the current arrangement."

'Middle class elitism' in media


University of the Witwatersrand political analyst Steven Friedman criticised what he said was the "intense middle class elitism" of South African media.

The problem with the media was not stressed resources or a lack of training, but with a group of middle-class people who believed that their world was the world.

"The lives of South Africans who are not middle class do not count in the South African media," he said.

"Whether they're print or electronic, whether they're publicly owned or privately owned is not the point.

"As long as that is the case, what we are looking at here is not an attempt to preserve the freedoms of the people of South Africa, it's an attempt to preserve the freedoms of a very narrow group of people."

This did not alter the threat to the media, and the fact that those freedoms ought to be preserved.

Democracy

But it challenged people to ask themselves how they and the media saw democracy, and who democracy was actually for.

If democracy was not for the shack dwellers who were ignored by the media, it was not for anybody.

"If it's not for a single woman in Limpopo province who gets beaten up by the cops because she's selling her oranges on the street and they won't let her, then it's not for everyone."

The discussion was organised by the Centre for Conflict Resolution.

- SAPA
Read more on:    mail and guardian  |  nic dawes  |  steven friedman  |  media
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

 

Inside News24

 
/Travel
 

LOL treadmill fail!

Watch this hilarious clip! We think this man should rather be running outside this summer!

 
 

I love summer.24

Google’s top searches of 2014
10 of the strangest Christmas traditions around the world
2014's best drone videos
7 drinks you need to make this party season

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Up to 50% off on outdoor gear

Save on chairs, blankets, cooler bags, umbrellas and more. Shop now!

Save on Samsung

Cameras, mobile phones, TVs, Tablets and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

15% off LEGO

Save 15% when you buy 2 or more Lego toys. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Grand Theft Auto 5

Now available on PS4, Xbox One and PC from R649. Buy now!

Festive gifts!

Check out our awesome range of festive gifts to make everyone’s wishes come true. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

It is time to explore. Some of you will literally go on holiday while others may need to find other outlets to quench your thirst...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.