Truth and Reconciliation in South Africa: Miracle or Model?

By Lyn S. Graybill | Go to book overview

9
Media Hearings

A free and independent press is an indispensable ingredient of a vibrant democracy. That it was feeble if not entirely nonexistent in South Africa during the apartheid era was highlighted by special hearings on the media held by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) in September 1997. Conflicting pictures of the media emerged from the three days of these hearings. One picture was that of reporters colluding with the government to enforce and entrench apartheid, perpetrators themselves of human rights violations against Africans. Another picture was that of journalists as objects of government attacks, victims themselves of apartheid.

Clearly the media, representing different sectors, was not a monolithic entity and was characterized by both collusion and resistance. Included were the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), a willing government lackey owned and operated by the National Party; the Afrikaans press, a loyal advocate of the government’s positions; the English-speaking press, a liberal opponent of apartheid in theory if not always in practice; and the “alternative” press, a small but important voice of resistance against government policies and most subject to attack.


South African Broadcasting Corporation

The official mouthpiece of the National Party from 1948 until the democratic elections in 1994, the SABC neglected its human rights obligations as the public broadcaster to report the truth. Its biased reporting of the

-125-

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Truth and Reconciliation in South Africa: Miracle or Model?
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Truth and Reconciliation in South Africa - Miracle or Model? iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • 1: Setting Up the Trc 1
  • 2: Nelson Mandela: Pragmatic Reconciler 11
  • 3: Tutu’s Theology of Reconciliation 25
  • 4: Forgiving the Unforgivable 39
  • 5: Amnesty: A Controversial Compromise 57
  • 6: Storytelling 81
  • 7: Women’s Testimony Before the Trc 97
  • 8: Innocent Bystanders? 113
  • 9: Media Hearings 125
  • 10: Wounded Healers: the Churches Respond 133
  • 11: The Rest of the Story 145
  • 12: A Workable Model? 163
  • 13: Afterword: Miracle or Evil Compromise? 177
  • Chronology 181
  • Glossary 187
  • Acronyms 189
  • Bibliography 193
  • Index 219
  • About the Book 231
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