Browsing by Author "Theunissen, Jacobus Danie Johannes"
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- ItemIn the eye of the public: Military-media relations in South Africa(Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2022-12) Theunissen, Jacobus Danie Johannes; Esterhuyse, Abel; Jordaan, Evert; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Military Science. School for Security and Africa Studies: Political Science.ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The conflict of interest between the military and the media originates from the inception of professional journalism. Militaries are as old as humanity and throughout history required various aspects to be victorious. The most important of them being operational security. The media on the other side want to provide an account of what occurred in a truthful and factual manner. Historically the relationship between these two entities have been strenuous as the military needs total control over information and access to conflicts as opposed to the media who required access in order to be able to provide an objective narrative. In the first 10 years of democracy in South Africa there was a congruent relationship between the military and the media. This relationship steadily deteriorated over the years where it is considered to be non-existent at present by certain journalists who regularly interact with the military. The media is of the opinion that the military does not communicate intentionally, timeously, and courteously by taking editorial processes into consideration. From the media’s side the level of professionalism in journalism has dwindled due to the juniorisation of its editors and journalists who no longer understand the military. Up to 2004 corporate communication officers in the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) were highly specialised and had many years of experience in dealing with the media. The media liaison function was decentralised and there were continuous liaison between the different management levels of the military and the media. This changed when media liaison was centralised to the Defence Headquarters in 2000. Since then officers without corporate communication qualifications and experience have been appointed in various senior corporate communication and media liaison posts. The Policy on Corporate Communication in the Department of Defence details the role of corporate communication functionaries and their responsibilities to ensure a positive public image on behalf of the command cadre. It is an extensive document addressing the command and control of the discipline on all the management levels as well as the education, training, and development aspects for the discipline. In South Africa it seems as if reporting on the military by the media is either predominantly of a negative nature or there is very little coverage of substance on the SANDF. The purpose of the study is to determine and explain what underpins the relationship between the military and the media in South Africa. The public needs to know what the military does, and the most effective way for the military to communicate with its stakeholders is using the media as a mass communication tool. Communication plays a pivotal part to ensure that the role, functions and activities of the SANDF is presented to ensure a positive public opinion.