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1 | P a g e
Adrian Baillie-Stewart
Keywords: globalisation, media and democracy, integrated development
strategy, state-me...
2 | P a g e
Contents	
  
Introduction .......................................................................................
3 | P a g e
Introduction	
  
This article investigates the position of the media in South Africa during the current era
wh...
4 | P a g e
we are seeing a diminishment worldwide of allocations to healthcare, education,
pensions, and other public wel...
5 | P a g e
Discussion	
  —	
  state-­‐media	
  relations,	
  private	
  media	
  ownership	
  and	
  
public	
   broadcas...
6 | P a g e
“ … this is censorship, pure and simple. There is absolutely no rational or legal
basis on which to prevent th...
7 | P a g e
One reasonable assertion promoted by Sparks (ibid.), is that “[i]n a world in which the
media are independent ...
8 | P a g e
Consequently, what we may begin to observe, is the emergence of a phenomenon where
the state-media’s role as a...
9 | P a g e
Chuma (ibid.) conclude that “current policies in most Southern African states owes much
to the inputs of civil...
10 | P a g e
“fundamental to any democracy that is open, accountable, participatory and responsive
[thereby enabling it to...
11 | P a g e
Conclusion	
  
In a time of increased globalisation, the preceding discussion serves well to broadly
outline ...
12 | P a g e
References	
  
Costanza-Chock, S., 2004. The Whole World is Watching: Online Surveillance of Social
Movement ...
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[MDD02] for Publication_ State-media Relations the Rise of Private Ownership and Public Broadcasting - Impacts on Democracy and Development

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[MDD02] for Publication_ State-media Relations the Rise of Private Ownership and Public Broadcasting - Impacts on Democracy and Development

  1. 1. 1 | P a g e Adrian Baillie-Stewart Keywords: globalisation, media and democracy, integrated development strategy, state-media relations, policy formulation, public broadcasting, private ownership. Abstract: This article investigates the position of the media during the current era where globalisation plays a significant influencing role in the media as well as impacting upon democracy and development in South Africa. The article acknowledges that there is a relationship between the mass media and the democratic state. The discussion supports the argument that, for South Africa, tensions between state and non-state actors remain at uneasy levels. Commercialisation of the media is a phenomenon that directly opposes developmental objectives with capitalistic motives of profit being in direct opposition to the support of a developmental agenda. Unless media freedom prevails, the socially and economically marginalised stand to lose their voice and so too, their hopes of seeing a strengthening democracy and burgeoning development agenda taking center- stage in South Africa for the foreseeable future. Author Information: Director/founder — Content Strategics (Pty) Ltd. Media and communications consultant, social media and online content manager, media researcher, retired photographer and photojournalist. Part-time (mid-career) postgraduate student (MA Journalism) at Stellenbosch University, South Africa. oooOOOoo
  2. 2. 2 | P a g e Contents   Introduction .........................................................................................................................3   Globalisation & Democracy and the mass media................................................................3   Globalisation....................................................................................................................3   Democracy and the mass media.......................................................................................4   Discussion — state-media relations, private media ownership and public broadcasting’s impacting democracy and development in South Africa.....................................................5   State-media relations and public broadcasting ................................................................5   Private media ...................................................................................................................7   State versus non-state actors ............................................................................................9   Conclusion.........................................................................................................................11   References .........................................................................................................................12      
  3. 3. 3 | P a g e Introduction   This article investigates the position of the media in South Africa during the current era where globalisation plays a significant influencing role in the media. The primary focus of this article centres upon the impact this has on democracy and development. To further advance this, the discussion includes considerations relevant to state-media relations, the rise of private ownership, public broadcasting, and the development of media policy as part of an integrated development strategy. South African examples are used in order to enrich the discussion. Globalisation  and,  democracy  and  the  mass  media   We look firstly at a discussion of some terms as they relate to the context within which they apply in this article; namely, that of globalisation and, democracy and the mass media. Globalisation   We acknowledge that “the concept of globalization has replaced the imperialism paradigm as the main way of thinking about the international media”, thereby signifying a new era as much as a new way of thinking, and implying a new kind of “social order” encountered in society (Sparks, 2007:126). Thus, globalisation may be regarded as an unavoidable feature of contemporary society. “There are numerous competing theories of globalization” and, in fact, exhaustive investigation resulted in Held (cited in Sparks, 2007:126) and his collaborators concluding that “no single coherent theory of globalization exists”. A straightforward definition states that “globalization refers to the growing interconnectedness of different parts of the world, a process which gives rise to the complex form of the interaction and the interdependency” (Grotan and Svendsen, 2013:para. 2, emphasis mine). An adjunct to the phenomenon of globalisation—and the indirect impact it has on various forms of society—is asserted by Puledda (2000:para. 6) who believes that globalisation is accompanied by an ideology of “making money out of money” which at the cultural level, may be regarded as “the religion of money”. Consequently, Puledda (2000:para. 6, emphasis mine) believes that:
  4. 4. 4 | P a g e we are seeing a diminishment worldwide of allocations to healthcare, education, pensions, and other public welfare assistance. It seems no country can tame this unregulated monster, which is speculative capital. Puledda (2000, para. 6) states that vehement promoters of globalisation, [in other words, those who seemingly benefit from it financially]: continue to speak of other values — equality, opportunity, democracy — but underneath the thick layer of hypocrisy the message is the same: the only true value is money. Now that we have a shared-view of globalisation (as contemporary societal phenomenon), we proceed to look at the position of the mass media within a functioning democracy (such as that which South Africa is). Democracy  and  the  mass  media   Embedded in the constitutions of most modern functioning democracies, is a relationship between the media and the [democratic] state; for some [democratic] states, press freedom is protected and in other [democratic] states, press freedom is restricted; [however], absolute or “complete freedom of expression” is not tolerated in any democracy (Street, 2001:250). What remains true in almost all democracies, is that “a combination of rules and common practices [creates] a working relationship between mass media and democracy” and while democratic states have “evolved for regulating mass media in a democracy, they have all produced different systems” (Street, 2001:250). As for the meaning of democracy, that definitions are many, including liberal, direct and deliberative democracy (ibid.). The general meaning adopted for this article applies to that of the liberal democratic variant: “the model that fits most closely with actually existing systems in the West” (ibid.). Importantly though, the state-media relationship is still to be regarded, [generally speaking], as a “crucial player” within a functioning democracy (Street, 2001:104). Having delineated the aforementioned terms as they relate within context of this discussion, we proceed with a discussion of the factors that impact democracy and development and media policy in South Africa.
  5. 5. 5 | P a g e Discussion  —  state-­‐media  relations,  private  media  ownership  and   public   broadcasting’s   impacting   democracy   and   development   in   South  Africa   State-­‐media  relations  and  public  broadcasting     By way of introduction, we observe that many policymakers regard “the link between human rights [and] democracy and development [as] a core question” (International Federation of Journalists, 1999:2). In this regard, a key element of these policies, are the policymakers’ concern for “independent journalism and free media, which provide a bedrock for democratic exchange and respect for human rights … [in order] to promote development and to eliminate arbitrary abuse.” (ibid.). Currently, in South Africa, freedom of the media in order to fulfil its democratic function is under threat. With “censorship [being] the most obvious form of state control”, Street (2001:104-105) states that forms of censorship are various and need not always require “direct intervention”. Thus, censorship being rather difficult to enforce within a liberal democracy—such as that which South Africa’s is—tends to see alternative indirect forms of censorship being implemented (by way of restrictive legislation for example) in order to curb the freedom held by the media. This is certainly the case with the somewhat contentious planned implementation of the Protection of State Information Bill (POSI)— also dubbed the ‘Secrecy Bill’—(which at the time of writing) was adopted by the National Assembly in revised format and sent back to President Jacob Zuma for assent in November 2013 (Parliament Sends Secrecy Bill Back to Zuma Again, 2014). Opposition to the POSI bill is strong, with the largest opposition political party, the Democratic Alliance, stating that it “will not give up fighting this Bill … until it is brought completely in line with the Constitution” (ibid.). Presently, intensifying enmity prevails between the state-media—i.e. the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC)—and several civil society (i.e. non-state actors) as well as opposition political organisations. A recent example was evidenced in an election- related dispute between the SABC and the Democratic Alliance (DA) relating to the SABC’s refusal to flight one of the DA’s election advertisements. The DA’s Gauteng premier-candidate expressed his objection to the SABC’s ruling, by stating that (Simon, 2014):
  6. 6. 6 | P a g e “ … this is censorship, pure and simple. There is absolutely no rational or legal basis on which to prevent this ad from airing,” [further arguing that] “the SABC’s intent is clear – they wish to seriously damage the DA’s election campaign in this crucial final week of the election”. Similarly, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) also lodged a complaint of apparent state-broadcaster interference during the recent 2014 elections: one of the EFF’s election adverts was banned from being broadcast on national television. After the party’s election advert banning, EFF members and its officials were left with no alternative but to stage a protest march to the SABC’s head office (Gifford, 2014). These examples represent two perturbing indictments made against the state broadcaster (i.e. the SABC). Accusations that seemingly may very well have had some impact—albeit minimal—on transparent democratic elections in South Africa, thus impacting the basic fundamentals of democracy in South Africa too. Consequently, as Moyo and Chuma (2010:2) suggest, for cases such as these, this may well lead to a cul-de-sac in the process of attempting to “transform state broadcasters into public-service broadcasters”. Hence we may reasonably conclude, as Moyo and Chuma (ibid.) suggest in cases like this, that “the democratisation project [in South Africa]” has largely failed, giving way, rather, to “superficial forms of democracy” existing in reality. The aforementioned phenomenon is widely researched and observed by many scholars. Joseph, Diamond and, Bratton and Van de Walle (cited in Moyo and Chuma, 2010:2), use “terms such a ‘pseudo democracy,’ ‘virtual democracy,’ and ‘electoral democracy’ in an attempt to capture the hollowness of the emerging forms of imitative democracy” (ibid.) which is becoming increasingly evident in many parts of the Southern African region. The net effect, or outcome, would surely end up being a serious hindrance to the advancement of a strengthening democracy and the hope of seeing a burgeoning development agenda in South Africa. A key consideration is raised by Sparks (2007:132) when saying that “it becomes increasingly difficult to [forecast] not only what [media] policies might be developed … but also who might have the kind of power that could implement them”. Thus we may ask: what would the implications be were this likely scenario to worsen?
  7. 7. 7 | P a g e One reasonable assertion promoted by Sparks (ibid.), is that “[i]n a world in which the media are independent of national governments, it makes little sense to ask those states to regulate the media in pursuit of pro-social objectives”. This is highly problematic indeed. Further issues need to be investigated too. Accordingly, we proceed to look at another important player in the mediasphere; namely, that of the private media and its role played in democracy and development in South Africa. Private  media     “[T]he most important effect of globalisation is the spread and increasing dominance of commercialised media” (Grotan and Svendsen, 2013:para. 14). Further to this, Herman and McChesney (cited in Grotan and Svendsen, 2013:para. 14) state that: commercialisation of the media will be detrimental to the public sphere. Public sphere programmes do not sell well, which means loss of an informed citizenry, loss of democratic order and loss of social stability. In other words, commercialisation of the media is a phenomenon that seemingly, directly opposes developmental objectives. Citizens of a nation need to be informed in order that a democracy may function optimally. Thus, capitalistic motives of profit are in direct opposition to supporting a developmental agenda. This notion is supported with assertions made by Herman and McChesney (ibid.) who contend that “audience commodification corrupts the basic premise of democratic communication, such as access, participation, and a necessary politicized voice in media content”. What seemingly takes priority instead, is that “mainstream content, [and] maximizing audiences to attract advertisers” is all that the private media are truly focused upon (as their primary commercial imperative) (ibid.). Therefore, we may reasonably conclude that, for the commercial media, development priorities would, most likely, often be relegated to a lesser priority than the prime priority of profit making for financial gain. With additional relevance to the preceding argument, when priorities begin to change, we note that four distinct negative effects of a globalised media may inevitably result; namely: the values of citizenry changes to a commercialisation interest and motive; a “displacement of the public sphere with entertainment” takes place; a “strengthening of conservative political forces” takes place; and lastly, a tremendous “erosion of local cultures” takes place (Herman and McChesney, 1997:152–155).
  8. 8. 8 | P a g e Consequently, what we may begin to observe, is the emergence of a phenomenon where the state-media’s role as a significant actor (economically, politically and culturally) within a democracy is rapidly diminishing (Beck in Sparks 2007:132, emphasis mine). By contrast, “non-state actors have been among the key players in both the conception and delivery of the most successful media and communications policies in the [Southern African] region” (Moyo and Chuma, 2010:1). This would suggest that, not only are we witnessing the declining role of the state-media in development-related projects, but we increasingly beginning to see how non-governmental organisations (NGO’s), non-profit organisations (NPO’s) and civil society institutions are beginning to assume growing responsibility (and accountability) in the realm of realising South Africa’s developmental agenda. Exacerbating the dilemma, we note that “the state has lost its ability to control the kinds of messages that circulate in the media, and has been forced to cede control to supranational organizations” (Sparks, 2007:132). When considering the policy implications of a situation such as this, we see that: “regulatory control of international communication is [being] transferred from national sovereignties to international regulatory organizations … [resulting in] the dilution and eroding of state authority with regard to communication policy, [thereby indicating a] shift of authority for broadcasting to the world community which regulates communication flows” (ibid.). At a macro nation-state level, “[o]ne central feature of [this] new epoch is that the state system that dominated world affairs for the last four centuries has now collapsed, or is at least under severe strain” (Sparks 2007;147). From a political economy perspective, globalisation is seen to impose “policy homogenization” (Grotan and Svendsen, 2013:para. 4) implying a sameness in design and purpose across a very broad geography of countries and democracies. Further to this, a common conclusion is that “globalisation leads to a weakening of power and influence of nation-states” (ibid.) and consequently, on concomitant policy-formulation and its implementation that ideally ought to be central in strengthening an integrated development strategy in South Africa. Moyo and Chuma (2010:1) have observed that “non-state actors have been among the key players in both the conception and delivery of the most successful media and communications policies in the [Southern African] region”. Consequently, Moyo and
  9. 9. 9 | P a g e Chuma (ibid.) conclude that “current policies in most Southern African states owes much to the inputs of civil society [which facilitates] the role of midwife [in policy formulation]”. However, across the southern African region of states, there remains a “persistent culture of state dominance in the media and communications policy-making process” (Moyo and Chuma, 2010:4) … which strongly suggests that “policies are path-dependent [and] once they are set on a particular course, something of substantial strength will be needed to deflect them from that course (Peters in Moyo and Chuma, 2010:4). ON the face of it, this is certainly the case in South Africa with its Protection of State Information bill which is expected to be promulgated before the end of the 2014 year. A firm grip on media policy-making, by the state, is to all appearances tightly controlled because it is believed that this is how, for example, “the battle for the hearts and minds” of voters is obtained (Moyo and Chuma, 2010:2). Thus, contrary to popular belief about the ‘retreating state’ (ibid.) “Southern Africa remains at the centre of policy making and only expediently accommodates input from non-state actors” (ibid.). State  versus  non-­‐state  actors   Thus, against the backdrop of the discussion in the preceding section, we turn to Chakravartty and Sarikakis (cited in Moyo and Chuma, 2010:2) who argue that in relation to globalisation and media policy, the role of the state ‘has been transformed [but] is not necessarily diminished in the face of globalisation’”. Compounding the issue, we consider an additional role played by the state: that of the state’s surveillance of ‘forces’ (or institutions) opposing government policies and ideologies, thus exposing themselves to the risk of having their activities covertly monitored. Costanza-Chock (2004:289) reaches the conclusion that social movement organisations [i.e. NPOs and NGOs] stand to have their efforts of social development and advancement frustrated by governments that seek to “repress” their efforts within a democracy. Therefore, Costanza-Chock (ibid.) supports the importance of socially- oriented civic organisations and the need for these entities to “push for comprehensive privacy legislation both at national and transnational levels”. In South Africa, one such entity that has taken up the ‘fight’ in this regard is known as The Right to Know Campaign (R2K). R2K’s vision sets out to retain rights to free access to information and “to share [that] information”; both of these being rights that are
  10. 10. 10 | P a g e “fundamental to any democracy that is open, accountable, participatory and responsive [thereby enabling it to] deliver the social, economic and environmental justice” needed to facilitate open, free and fair democratic debate in South Africa (Right2Know Campaign, 2014). Of particular note in relation to policy formulation, we observe that one of the R2K’s primary principles insists upon a free and diverse media (Right2Know Campaign, 2014, emphasis mine): Media freedom must be defended and advanced in law, policy and practice as demanded inter alia by section 16 of the Constitution of South Africa. Media diversity must be extended so that everyone, in particular the socially and economically marginalised, shall have a voice. A further principle that is advanced by R2K is to retain the right of collective community involvement. Meeting the basic needs of the people living in South Africa necessitates regular social and economic development in South Africa. Without transparency in a democracy, a community’s efforts that demand “political, social, economic and environmental justice” (ibid.) is oftentimes hampered, or even entirely thwarted by ruling authorities. For this reason, policy formulation that threatens to curtail these forms of community involvement is continually being opposed in South Africa. A final example illustrating the uncomfortable tensions that exist in the aforementioned regard is cited to highlight the ongoing ambivalence surrounding South Africa’s integrated National Development Plan (NDP). In a recent Mail & Guardian report, authors Pillay and Letsoalo (2014:para. 5–6, emphasis mine) wrote, quoting President Jacob Zuma when he said that: “The NDP is ours. We worked on the agreements by the people of South Africa." … [President Zuma] hinted there would be no major changes on economic policies when the party launched its election manifesto on Saturday. Zuma said the ANC would continue its approach of an inclusive economy. [However] Cosatu's largest affiliate, the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa, has repeatedly criticised the NDP, saying it was similar to the Growth, Employment and Redistribution Strategy introduced during former president Thabo Mbeki's presidency in 1996. Thus, it would seem, that tensions between state and non-state actors remain at uneasy levels in South Africa.
  11. 11. 11 | P a g e Conclusion   In a time of increased globalisation, the preceding discussion serves well to broadly outline some of the primary threats and challenges currently being experienced in South Africa. Media freedom, due to policy formulation threats, is under attack and ought to be stopped. Otherwise, the socially and economically marginalised stand to lose their voice as well as their collective right to participate in development projects and development policy formulation in South Africa. A free media, functioning within a broader free and fair democracy, is at risk of being curtailed by the South African state-media apparatus. This being the case, the hope of seeing a strengthening democracy and burgeoning development agenda will seemingly not take center-stage in South Africa for some time to come. The private media and many non-state actors’ increasing struggle to retain their rights to free access to information and to freely share that information—which is so fundamental to any open, accountable, participatory and responsive democracy—may see the delivery of social, economic and environmental justice being severely thwarted in time to come. In addition, commercialisation of the media directly opposes developmental objectives, with capitalistic motives of profit making directly opposing the support and advancement of a developmental agenda. Consequently, for the socially and economically marginalised, important issues of developmental priority may never be attended to or remedied, because the net effect of it all could be this: “the socially and economically marginalised”, will lose their voice (Right2Know Campaign, 2014). oooOOOooo
  12. 12. 12 | P a g e References   Costanza-Chock, S., 2004. The Whole World is Watching: Online Surveillance of Social Movement Organizations. In: Pradip Thomas and Zaharom Nain, eds. Who owns the media?  : global trends and local resistances. London: Zed. Gifford, G., 2014. EFF Marches to SABC Over Banned Election Advert [online]. eNCA. Available from: http://www.enca.com/south-africa/pictures-eff-marches-sabc- over-banned-ads [Accessed 1 May 2014]. Grotan, T. and Svendsen, N.V., 2013. Globalisation and its possible effects on independent media in South Africa [online]. Available from: http://www.waccglobal.org/en/20012-media-scenarios-in-southern-africa/739- Globalisation-and-its-possible-effects-on-independent-media-in-South- Africa.html [Accessed 22 Aug 2013]. Herman, E.S. and McChesney, R.W., 1997. The Global Media: The New Missionaries of Corporate Capitalism. London: Cassell. International Federation of Journalists, 1999. The Role of Media in The Promotion of Human Rights And Democratic Development in Africa [online]. International Federation of Journalists. Available from: http://www.google.co.za/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=3&cad=rj a&uact=8&ved=0CEMQFjAC&url=http%3A%2F%2Fafrica.ifj.org%2Fassets%2 Fdocs%2F106%2F024%2F74d866a- e7eb518.pdf&ei=kyBuU4LEF8XYOqORgBA&usg=AFQjCNFfG0aFEXvN4ojbg ktY6h4O2Ru1ug&sig2=xIcMbnWrKi1fDQT4oSRI0A&bvm=bv.66330100,d.ZW U [Accessed 10 May 2014]. Moyo, D. and Chuma, W., 2010. Media Policy in a Changing Southern Africa: Critical Reflections on Media Reforms in the Global Age. 1st ed.. Pretoria: Unisa Press. Parliament Sends Secrecy Bill Back to Zuma Again [online], 2014. The M&G Online. Available from: http://mg.co.za/article/2013-11-12-secrecy-bill-to-be-sent-back- to-zuma-again/ [Accessed 15 Apr 2014]. Pillay, V. and Letsoalo, M., 2014. Zuma Stands Firm on Implementing Development Plan [online]. The M&G Online. Available from: http://mg.co.za/article/2014-01- 11-zuma-stands-firm-on-implementing-development-plan/ [Accessed 12 May 2014]. Puledda, S., 2000. Globalization: A Threat to Cultural Diversity? [online]. Available from: http://home.pacific.net.hk/~tonyhen/global.htm [Accessed 30 Aug 2013]. Right2Know Campaign [online], 2014. Right2Know Campaign. Available from: http://www.r2k.org.za/about/mission-vision-and-principles/ [Accessed 7 May 2014]. Simon, N., 2014. DA To Fight SABC ‘Censorship’ In Courts [online]. Elections 2014. Available from: http://www.sabreakingnews.co.za/2014/04/30/da-to-fight-sabc- censorship-in-courts/ [Accessed 1 May 2014]. Sparks, C., 2007. Globalization, Development and the Mass Media. Sage Publications Ltd. Street, J., 2001. Mass media, politics, and democracy. Basingstoke: Palgrave. oooOOOooo

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