An analysis of racial stereotyping of the South African Police in the television programmes Carte Blanche and Special Assignment from August 2003 to September 2004

Gerbi, Giovanna Maria (2005-04)

Thesis (MPhil)--University of Stellenbosch, 2005.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The aim of this assignment is to examine two investigative journalism programmes in South Africa, namely Carte Blanche and SpecialAssignment in order to ascertain whether two South African policing organisations have been subjected to racist stereotyping on these two programmes. Both these programmes are held in high esteem within South African and international media circles. Carte Blanche has won many awards, such as the prestigious eNN African Journalist of the Year Award in 2002. Special Assignment won the equivalent award in 2001. The approaches and styles in revealing the truth by using investigative forms of journalism are however slightly different. Both Carte Blanche and Special Assignment have produced stories from August 2003 to September 2004 that have exposed corruption within the South African policing organisations. Many of the perpetrators within the police force were identified as people of colour. This assignment therefore aims to discover whether racist stereotyping exists in this niche of investigative journalism television programmes. This opens up the possibility for these portrayals to be seen as stereotypical, since the dominant press codes in South Africa stipulates that reference to 'race' in news reporting should only be done where it will contribute significantly to understanding the subject matter or if the reference to the race of the person is particularly applicable. This assignment aims to discover whether racist stereotyping exists in this niche of investigative journalism television programmes. The research method comprised analysing programmes on Carte Blanche and Special Assignment that dealt with the South African policing organisations from August 2003 to September 2004. The original transcripts of the programmes were retrieved from the relevant websites of Carte Blanche and Special Assignment and have also been studied. Sources on media ethics as well as newspaper and magazine articles dealing with the South African policing organisations, crime and corruption were scrutinized in order to provide background information for the study. The analyses of the programmes was complemented by interviews conducted with the investigative journalists at the helm of the two programmes, namely, Ruda Landman from Carte Blanche and Jessica Pitchford from Special Assignment.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die doel van hierdie studie is om twee ondersoekende joernalistiekprogramme in Suid-Afrika, naamlik Carte Blanche en Special Assignment, te ondersoek ten einde vas te stelof die Suid- Afrikaanse polisiëringsorganisasies in dié twee programme aan rassestereotipering onderhewig is. Albei dié programme word hoog geag in Suid-Afrikaanse en internasionale mediakringe. Carte Blanche het reeds verskeie toekennings gewen, soos die toonaangewende eNN Afrikajoernalis van die Jaar Toekenning in 2002. Special Assignment het hierdie toekenning in 2001 gewen. Die benaderings en styl wat tydens die bekendmaking van die waarheid gevolg word deur die toepassing van ondersoekende vorme van joernalistiek verskil egter effe. Sowel Carte Blanche as Special Assignment het van Augustus 2003 tot September 2004 stories opgelewer wat korrupsie in die Suid-Afrikaanse polisiëringsorganisasies aan die kaak gestel het. Baie van die skuldiges in die polisiemag is geïdentifiseer as gekleurde mense. Hierdie studie beoog dus om vas te stel of daar rassestereotipering in hierdie afdeling van televisieprogramme met betrekking tot ondersoekende joernalistiek bestaan. Ondersoekende joernalistiek is ongetwyfeld een van die stimulerendste afdelings van die joernalistiek. Dit is 'n uitgesproke vorm van joernalistiek wat die vermoë het om die samelewing te beïnvloed. Ondersoekende joernalistiek maak gewoonlik misdrywe aan die publiek bekend. Die konsekwente uitbeelding van gekleurde mense op 'n negatiewe wyse sou kon lei tot die inboet van etiese waardes en dus tot rassestereotipering. Die navorsingsmetode het behels dat daar van Augustus 2003 tot September 2004 na programme oor die Suid-Afrikaanse polisiëringsorganisasies op Carte Blanche en Special Assignment gekyk is en dat dit op band opgeneem is. Die oorspronklike transkripsies van die programme is van Carte Blanche en Special Assignment se onderskeie webtuistes verkry en word as bylaes by hierdie studie aangeheg. Bronne oor media-etiek asook koerant- en tydskrifartikels wat oor die Suid-Afrikaanse polisiëringsorganisasies, misdaad en korrupsie handel, is noukeurig nagegaan. 'n Persoonlike onderhoud is met Ruda Landman van Carte Blanche gevoer, en met Jessica Pitchford van Special Assignment is 'n onderhoud per e-pos gevoer. Landman en Pitchford was albei betrokke by die samestelling van die betrokke

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