Browsing by Author "Martindale, Linda Shirley"
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- ItemRacism, criticism or, inept reporting? : racism in the media, the relationship between the state and the press, and the standard of journalism in South Africa(Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2002-12) Martindale, Linda Shirley; Wasserman, Herman; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Department of Journalism.ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The furor around racism in the media was brought to the surface in 1999 when the Black Lawyers Association and the Association of Black Accountants of South Africa appealed to the South African Human Rights Commission to investigate the South African media. This request was based on the presumption that the South African media was rife with racism and urgently required attention. The subsequent enquiry was the source of much controversy and accusation. Almost three years since the enquiries inception, the issue of racism in the South African media has not disappeared despite decreasing media coverage in recent months. When the South African Human Rights Commission launched the enquiry into racism, prominent media leaders including key editors and newspaper representatives were summoned to appear before the controversial Commission. Some media leaders felt the Commission was a direct attack on the freedom of the Press. Others felt the enquiry was long overdue or slammed it as an all-time flop. Furthermore, pure and simple criticism of the government is still perceived as racism when it is the Press fulfilling its role as the 'watchdog of democracy' . Various Press theories, for example Developmental or Libertarian, impact on the perceived role of the Press in a democratic nation. The standard of journalism in a country can also impact on the way in which the press is perceived. For example, there are times when inept reporting is misunderstood as racist reporting. This assignment is a broad overview of the enquiry into racism in the media and the concerns around this issue as well as the response to it. It takes a closer look at the role of the media and the relationship between the media and the state. In particular, it focuses on how criticism of the government can be misread as racism, as well as investigating how the standard of journalism impacts on the way in which the media serve the public. The South African National Editors Forum launched a skills audit in 2002 and the results were surprisingly negative. The general standard of journalism in South Africa was assessed as "low". This assignment looks at the findings of the audit in the light of the above questions surrounding the standard of journalism as it pertains to reporting on race and accuracy, understanding and objectivity. The last section of the assignment takes a brief look at several examples of how to report on race in South Africa and what to be aware of when considering sensitivity to race issues. The questions as to whether it is racism, healthy criticism misconstrued as racism, or simply inept reporting, are explored. Although an expansive topic by nature, this paper provides an overview of the key issues pertaining to media ethics as it pertains to racism in the South African media.