Wallace Chuma

Senior Lecturer in the Centre for Film and Media Studies, University of Cape Town


Fall 2015: Mandela Mellon Fellowship

Shaping South African Media Policy: Principles, Pressures and Possibilities

Project Description

Shaping South African Media Policy: Principles, Pressures and Possibilities

This project focuses on the evolution of post-apartheid South African media policy, drawing attention to both the global and local dynamics influencing policy decisions and interventions. Crucially, it also looks at the different ways in which policy constituents within civil society have responded to these policies. It begins off by sketching the US-informed global liberal context of the 1990s and its influence on media policies adopted in different parts of the world including Africa. This is followed by a discussion of the construction of the South African post-apartheid media regulatory system, paying attention not only at the structures and institutions created, but also at how the ANC-led government navigated the twin pressures ‘neo-liberalism’ and ‘development’ in the process.  The project also offers a discussion of the ANC’s strategies of ‘disciplining’ the media in the context of increasing fractures within the party and government. The strategies by a range of pressure groups, including media associations, NGOs and unions to challenge the media laws they consider unjust are also discussed. Lastly, the project raises critical questions about the current media policy framework as way of opening debate about possible future directions.

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