Propaganda : 'n historiese kommunikasieproses van belang vir bestuurders van die media

Botha, Nicolene (2000-12)

Thesis (MPhil)--University of Stellenbosch, 2000.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Although most journalists and media managers will deny that they are at all biased, few of the communication messages that are daily spread by the mass communication media, are neutral. Media people transfer their own political orientation, also that of the organisation that they work for, to their reports by means of their decisions of what news they will present and how they will present it. From the recent past it has become clear that there is a link between the government of the day and how the news is presented, as perceptions that have been created of certain events, have changed over time. Journalists have certain political convictions, but even if they try to be objective in spite of these, they are often insensitive to the fact that they are used by propagandists, who themselves have a thorough knowledge of the media. Sometimes journalists are knowingly and willingly involved in such attempts, and sometimes against their will. More often they are completely ignorant of the fact that they form part of a propaganda attempt, because they do not realise that they are being manipulated. In order to distinguish between "real" news and propaganda in the form of news, it is essential to have insight into the nature and origin of propaganda, but especially into the techniques that are commonly used. Initially, the word "propaganda" had a positive meaning, but during the First World War the word increasingly obtained a negative connotation. A century later, the word itself had become almost obsolete, except in reference to the information attempts of the opposition. "Own" campaigns are referred to in eufemistic terms such as "news management" and "public diplomacy". However, phenomena of propaganda did not disappear. In fact, with the progress in technology since the end of the nineteenth century, the number of communication channels available for the transfer of messages have multiplied. This created new means of spreading propaganda, especially since the invention of the transistor and later of television. With the changes in and improvements of mass communication media, the nature and extent of propaganda techniques also changed significantly. The techniques became more sophisticated and new methods of manipulation are continuously thought up, so much so that there are currently almost no limit to the ways in which propaganda messages are conveyed. When the uses of these techniques, as they are commonly found in media reports, are studied, it is possible to identify six broad catagories of propaganda. The first category is that where the nature of the contents is obvious, in other words, where no further information is required about an issue or a person in order to recognise the technique as propaganda. The second category represents pieces of propaganda where further information is required in order to recognise the use of the technique, like when somebody tells a lie. Thirdly, there are techniques that can only be recognised after a variety of propaganda pieces have been studied and the relation between the contents have been studied, such as when politicians play for time. The fourth technique is repetition. The fifth category of techniques is based on the nature of the arguments used by the propagandist, whether these are rational or non-rational. The last category is based on the intention of the propagandist, for example whether he wants to create fear or drive a wedge between groups. Knowledge of these different techniques provide a basis according to which journalists and media managers will be able to judge news events in order to determine the propagandistic intention thereof.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hoewel die meeste joernaliste en mediabestuurders salontken dat hulle enigsins bevooroordeeld is, is min van die kommunikasïeboodskappe wat daagliks deur die massamedia uitgedra word, neutraal. Medialui druk die stempel van hul eie politieke ingesteldheid, maar ook dié van die organisasie waarvoor hulle werk, op hul berigte af deur hul besluite oor watter nuus hulle gaan aanbied en hoe hulle dit gaan aanbied. Uit die onlangse verlede is dit duidelik dat daar 'n verband is tussen die regering van die dag en hoe die nuus aangebied word, aangesien persepsies wat oor gebeure geskep is, met verloop van tyd verander het. Joernaliste het sekere politieke oortuigings, maar al probeer hulle ten spyte daarvan objektief wees, is hulle dikwels onsensitief daarvoor dat hulle deur propagandiste, wat self 'n grondige kennis van die werking van die media het, gebruik word. Soms word joernaliste met hulle medewete en goedkeuring by sulke pogings betrek, en soms teen hulle sin. Meer dikwels vorm hulle egter onbewustelik deel van 'n belangegroep se propagandapoging, omdat hulle nie besef dat hulle gemanipuleer word nie. Om in staat te wees om "regte" nuus te onderskei van propaganda in die vorm van nuus, is dit noodsaaklik om insig te hê in die aard en oorsprong van propaganda, maar veral in die tegnieke wat algemeen gebruik word. Die woord "propaganda" het aanvanklik 'n positiewe betekenis gehad, maar tydens die Eerste Wêreldoorlog het dit toenemend 'n negatiewe konnotasie gekry. In Eeu later het die woord self grootliks in onbruik verval, behalwe waar daar na die opposisie se inligtingspogings verwys is. "Eie" veldtogte word in eufemistiese terme na verwys as "nuusbestuur" en "openbare diplomasie". Ten spyte hiervan het die verskynsel van propaganda nie verdwyn nie. In teendeel, met die vooruitgang in tegnologie sedert die einde van die negentiende eeu, het die kommunikasiekanale wat vir die oordrag van die boodskap beskikbaar was, veelvuldig toegeneem. Dit het nuwe moontlikhede van propagandavoering daargestel, veral sedert die uitvinding van die transistor en later ook televisie. Met die verandering en verbetering van massakommunikasiemedia het die aard en omvang van propagandategnieke ook merkbaar verander. Die tegnieke het meer gesofistikeerd geraak en nuwe metodes van manipulasie word voortdurend bedink, sodat daar vandag feitlik geen perke is aan die maniere waarop propaganda- boodskappe uitgedra word nie. Wanneer die gebruik van dié tegnieke, soos dit algemeen in mediaberigte voorkom, bestudeer word, is dit moontlik om ses breë kategorieë van propaganda te identifiseer. Die eerste kategorie is dié waar die aard van die inhoud vanself spreek, met ander woorde, waar geen verdere inligting oor 'n saak of persoon nodig is om 'n tegniek as propaganda te eien nie. Die tweede kategorie verteenwoordig propagandastukke waar bykomende inligting nodig is om die tegniek uit te ken, soos wanneer 'n leuen vertel word. Derdens is daar tegnieke wat slegs herken kan word nadat verskeie propagandastukke bestudeer is en die inhoud daarvan met mekaar in verband gebring is, soos wanneer politici vir tyd speel. Vierdens word daar van herhaling gebruik gemaak. Die vyfde kategorie van tegnieke is gegrond is op die aard van die argumente wat die propagandis gebruik, of dit byvoorbeeld rasioneel of nie-rasioneel is. Die laaste kategorie sluit tegnieke in wat gegrond is op die bedoeling van die propagandis, of hy byvoorbeeld vrees wil inboesem of groepe teen mekaar wilopmaak. Kennis van hierdie verskillende tegnieke bied 'n grondslag waarvolgens joernaliste en mediabestuurders nuusgebeure kan beoordeel ten einde die propaganda-bedoeling daarvan te bepaal.

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