Up against Apartheid: The Role and the Plight of the Press in South Africa


A firsthand report of the workings of the press in the intensely troubled nation, complete with portions of the Erasmus Commission Reports never before published in the United States on the so-called Muldergate scandal. Pollak was the co-founder and editor of MORE magazine, which specialized in media analysis. After observing the workings of the press in South Africa, he believes that in the 1980sthe English-language press will play a significant role in determining whether that country will be able to defuse its racial problem before it explodes into bloody civil strife. The press in South Africa remains the one relatively free institution that has been critical of the government. Pollak examines the pressures under which it works, the ways in which the government has sought to control it, the ways in which the press has fought against the controls, and the actual impact that the press has had upon the course of events, domestic and foreign. He describes the punitive closing of newspapers, the arrests and the torture, and the abuse of reporters imprisoned for what they have written. He also describes the carefully calculated bureaucratic obstacles to press coverage of events in South Africa, such as visas, work permits, and police credentials, as well as tapped telephones, security sleuths, and general harassment and intimidation used by the government to encourage self-censorship on the part of journalists. The constant war of nerves between the Nationalists and the press corps produces the desired chilling effect. Pollak shows that the South African press played an important part in revealing the Muldergate scandal, a saga of national and international intrigue, corruption, and violence that included an attempt by South Africa to purchase the Washington Starto extend its credibility around the world.

Additional information

Publisher: Place of publication:
  • Carbondale, IL
Publication year:
  • 1981


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