Onbekend maak onbemind : die rol van die Suid-Afrikaanse pers in die destigmatisering van epilepsie

Silke, Norman Joshua (2003-04)

Thesis (MPhil)--University of Stellenbosch, 2003.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This study project provides an overview of the frequency and quality of reporting on epilepsy in the South African press and the role this plays in destigmatising the condition. It is introduced by a comprehensive background study, after which articles published in the country's leading newspapers during the period 2000 to 2002 are analysed. The perceptions of members of the public and medical doctors are examined by means of interviews and questionnaires, as part of an effort to determine how coverage of epilepsy is currently being handled. Suggestions on how the quality of information on epilepsy and the distribution thereof may be improved are also made. The conclusion is that newspaper coverage of epilepsy in South Africa is largely inadequate. During the above-mentioned period very few articles on epilepsy were published. Those that did appear, were mostly news items. There was a serious lack of investigative reporting. Dramatic headlines accompanying certain articles did not lead to greater understanding of the condition. At times reporting was even clearly irresponsible. The press should be an instrument to inform epilepsy patients, their families and their communities, and to guard against stigmatising. Science journalists should report clearly and thoroughly and be fully informed about their chosen subject. The study indicates a need for a greater focus on science by the press. Newspapers should provide training for science journalists and ensure that reporters are aware of the latest developments in the field of science and technology. More experts, like doctors, neurologists, and board members of organisations (like Epilepsy South Africa) should be involved in the writing of articles. Epilepsy is far more common than is generally believed, but many epilepsy patients hide their condition for fear of discrimination. As a result, they do not receive the help and support they are entitled to. In poor and disadvantaged communities epilepsy sufferers are still viewed with distrust and suspicion. It is the duty of the press to throw light on the condition and to keep focusing on it, so that fear and ignorance may be replaced with facts and information.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie werkstuk bied 'n oorsig van die frekwensie en gehalte van die Suid-Afrikaanse pers se beriggewing oor epilepsie en die rol wat dit speel in die destigmatisering van die toestand. Dit word ingelei deur 'n breedvoerige agtergrondstudie, waarná berigte wat gedurende die tydperk 2000 tot 2002 in die land se belangrikste koerante verskyn het, ontleed word. Die persepsies van lede van die publiek en medici word ondersoek deur middel van onderhoude en vraelyste, as deel van 'n poging om vas te stel hoe beriggewing oor epilepsie tans hanteer word. Voorstelle word ook gemaak oor hoe die kwaliteit van inligting oor epilepsie en die verspreiding daarvan verbeter kan word. Die gevolgtrekking is dat verslaggewing oor epilepsie in Suid-Afrika grotendeels onvoldoende is. In die genoemde tydperk het weinig artikels oor epilepsie in koerante verskyn. Dié wat wel gepubliseer is, was meestal nuusberigte, en daar was slegs enkele ondersoekende artikels. Dramatiese opskrifte by sommige artikels was nie tot voordeel van groter begrip oor die toestand nie. Soms was verslaggewing selfs onverantwoordelik. Die pers behoort 'n instrument te wees om epilepsielyers, hul families en hul gemeenskappe in te lig en stigmatisering te bestry. Wetenskapjoernaliste behoort deeglik en duidelik verslag te doen en ten volle ingelig te wees oor hul gekose onderwerp. Die studie dui op 'n behoefte aan 'n groter fokus op die wetenskappe in die pers. Koerante behoort opleiding te verskaf aan wetenskap-joernaliste en seker te maak dat verslaggewers op hoogte is van die nuutste verwikkelinge op wetenskap- en tegnologiegebied. Meer kundiges, soos dokters, neuroloë, bestuurslede van organisasies (soos Epilepsie Suid-Afrika) en epilepsielyers, moet betrek word by die skryf van artikels. Epilepsie kom baie meer voor as wat algemeen bekend is, maar uit vrees vir diskriminasie verswyg baie epilepsielyers hul toestand. Gevolglik kry hulle nie die hulp en bystand waarop hulle geregtig is nie. In arm en agtergeblewe gemeenskappe is daar steeds groot wantroue en agterdog jeens epileptici. Die pers het 'n plig om die toestand in die kollig te plaas en dit daar te hou, sodat vrees en onkunde deur feite en inligting besweer kan word.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/53537
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