Manipulator or Human Rights Facilitator? A Journalist Involved with the South African Broadcasting Corporation's Radio Coverage of That Country's Truth and Reconciliation Commission Describes How It Was Done and Why Decisions Made about Its Approach Matter
Krog, Antjie, Nieman Reports
A quarter of a century ago, truth commissions emerged as one of the vehicles of transitional justice after times of violence. In the mid-1990's, the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) brought new approaches to the process: It gave individual amnesty to those who testified; it allowed victims of the opposite sides to testify during the same forum; and, its hearings were held in public.
Once it was decided that the TRC hearings would be held in public, then decisions about news media coverage of the proceedings had to be made. To enable as many South Africans as possible to keep up with the proceedings, the commission, as it noted in its final report, "judged radio the most effective communication medium." It described its reasoning in this way: "Radio listenership figures far outstrip newspaper readership. In addition radio broadcasts penetrate all corners of the country in the home languages of the majority of South Africans ... [also] for those who are not literate and for those in rural areas."
The commission's radio strategy was buttressed by efforts to make it work. Money was raised to support such coverage; a special room was allocated …
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Publication information: Article title: Manipulator or Human Rights Facilitator? A Journalist Involved with the South African Broadcasting Corporation's Radio Coverage of That Country's Truth and Reconciliation Commission Describes How It Was Done and Why Decisions Made about Its Approach Matter. Contributors: Krog, Antjie - Author. Magazine title: Nieman Reports. Volume: 63. Issue: 4 Publication date: Winter 2009. Page number: 19+. © 1999 Harvard University, Nieman Foundation. COPYRIGHT 2009 Gale Group.
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