Friday, February 26, 2016

The Listening Post on Al Jazeera on Saturday looks at whether and how South Africa's news media has transformed in the past two decades.

The Listening Post on Al Jazeera (DStv 406 / StarSat 257) on Saturday (27 February) at 10:30 is looking at whether, and if so how, the news media has transformed in South Africa since the end of apartheid 20 years ago.

Nicholas Muirhead say media transformation was a key priority for the African National Congress (ANC) after it came to power in 1994 and on Saturday the show interviews various editors and media figures to find out how news media in South Africa changed the past two decades.

Nicholas Muirhead spoke to City Press editor Ferial Haffajee, who wrote the book, What If There Were No Whites In South Africa?

Ferial Haffajee warned of the "cappuccino effect" in South African industries – where the workforce is brown at the bottom, but with a white layer on top and a few chocolate sprinkles. She argues that newsrooms are now transformed in South Africa, but upper management and ownership remain an issue.

Rachel Jafta, chairperson of Media24 tells Nicholas Muirhead in The Listening Post that "I have the sense here that perception still has to catch up with reality. Of the four big media houses, Caxton remains the only one that in ownership hasn't transformed. Independent, Times Media Group and Media24 have black ownership. For Media24, it's 47%".

Then there's the SABC that critics say has been used as a government tool to dilute political output.

"Is the SABC serving the purpose for which it is conceived in the democratic era?" asks Songezo Zibi, the outgoing BusinessDay editor.

"My answer is it's got a very questionable performance. Is it therefore transformed from what it was or have we had one form of political culture being replaced by another? I think it's largely the latter.  And in that sense, SABC has not been transformed for me".

"Media reflects society and if the country has not transformed, then nor will the media," says Nicholas Muirhead.