Happy, patriotic news is now official govt policy

Posted 23 October 2015 Written by The Economist
Category Media

SA's press is becoming more lapdog than bulldog. The SABC wants 70% "happy, patriotic" news and the government is using its financial clout to muscle in on other areas of the media, as this article from The Economist makes clear.

Apartheid's enforcers (see left) had simple ways of muzzling critical newspapers during South Africa’s dark period of white rule: they blatantly censored them or closed them down. Since the end of minority rule in 1994, the country has been blessed with vibrant and muckraking media, protected by a constitution that guarantees freedom of expression. South African newspapers have dug up dirt on crooked arms deals, exposed scandals such as lavish state spending on the private home of Jacob Zuma, the president, and generally held the mighty to account.

An infuriated African National Congress (ANC), which has ruled South Africa for a little over 20 years, has considered, but so far rejected, heavy-handed ways of curbing this boisterous exercise of free speech. These include a “secrecy bill” that threatens to jail journalists or whistle-blowers who leak or publish state secrets.


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