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Trends in international journalism 1 March 2007. The Public Service Broadcasting Model as a case Examples from South Africa, Zimbabwe and Ethiopia meet examples from UK, Denmark and Norway Many models of journalism.

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Trends in international journalism 1 March 2007

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Trends in international journalism 1 march 2007

Trends in international journalism 1 March 2007

The Public Service Broadcasting Model as a case

Examples from South Africa, Zimbabwe and Ethiopia meet examples from UK, Denmark and Norway

Trends in international journalism 1 march 2007

  • Many models of journalism.

  • Theories developed in the West may face problems in the meeting with other realities.

  • Other empirical experiences may broaden and add to the original theory. Ex. Multi-ethnic societies.

Trends in international journalism 1 march 2007

  • Labelling:

    The West, the North, The first world, the developed countries

    The South, the third world, the underdeveloped/ developing countries

Trends in international journalism 1 march 2007

The majority world


The minority world

Public service broadcasting

Public Service Broadcasting

  • BBC, John Reith Director General 1922-38

  • To give the public ”what we think they need and not what they want”

    ”few know what they want, and very few what they need”.

Public service broadcasting1

Public Service Broadcasting

  • The international expansion of the BBC model:

  • Europe 1920s and 1939s

  • Increasingly Africa

  • The model was exported to countries that were structurally very different from the relatively homogenous nation the BBC was born into.

Public service broadcasting2

Public Service Broadcasting

  • Citizens versus Consumers (Habermas)

    not always a fruitful division:

    – the roles are increasingly intertwined

    – more hybrid institutions

    – ’public service for citizens’ can suppress some forms of expressions whereas ‘commercial broadcasting for consumers’ can be empowering

Public service broadcasting3

Public Service Broadcasting

  • The traditional public sphere approach assumed that people had more in common than what separated them.

Multi ethnic societites

Multi-ethnic societites

  • Different ethnic groups under a common social identity ex. South Africa

  • SABC 1936

  • The system’s close links to the state misused as a tool for the apartheid regime

  • The classic public service approach presupposes a nation and a public to address.

1994 south africa

1994 South Africa

End of apartheid.

Main challenge: bring all different groups together.

The public broadcaster SABC central in this process.

Post apartheid south africa

Post-apartheid South Africa

  • 1994 The SABC had to change its perceptions of its public dramatically and adjust to a multi-ethnic reality.

  • The Rainbow nation

Post apartheid south africa1

Post-apartheid South Africa

  • Democratisation – not a uni-directional process.

  • 2004: More political control by the ANC

  • Political individuals appointed to strategic SABC positions

  • Increasing self-censorship in the news

  • Stronger interference in the news

  • BUT: Nothing like pre-1994!

Trends in international journalism 1 march 2007

Head of SABC News (interview 2004):

The question of the appointment of ANC profiles to control the institution, I think it is very difficult. I don’t think it is necessary. The people I admire in this country mostly are aligned with the ANC, I share their views and the views of 70 percent of the population. And this is what intrigues me, if the ANC has support from more than seventy percent of the population, why do they need this control. I don’t understand those policies. I don’t understand why it is necessary to control everything. I think there are many people, many politicians in this country who want to control. It is the legacy of the apartheid we came from. And the idea that everything we will do we can do because 70 percent of the population support us. (…)

My heart belongs to the ANC, but that has nothing to do with me as a newsmaker .

Trends in international journalism 1 march 2007

  • Universal theories of media systems and journalism do not consider a country’s particular historical context.

  • Ex. Zimbabwe

  • Many of the laws used to suppress free journalism in Zimbabwe today are the same as used during the colonial period.

Trends in international journalism 1 march 2007

  • Developent of media and democracy

    a two-way road:

    – towards increased openess and democracy (South Africa)

    – reverseal toward authoritarianism (Zim)

    – at a crossroad/ a mixture (Ethiopia)



  • What should be general universal journalistisc or democratic values?

  • What should stem form the local culture, history and conditions?

  • Without a multivocal, diversified media landscape the seeds of democratic government will wither.

Africa 1st and 2nd wave of democratisation

Africa: 1st and 2nd wave of democratisation

  • 1st wave: Started with

    Ghana 6 March 1957

  • 2nd wave: The end of the Cold War

    (South Africa, Namibia...)

  • Media’s role in the second wave of democracy very central.

Interactions media and democratisation

Interactions media and democratisation

Lessons learnt public service broadcasting

Lessons learnt - public service broadcasting

  • Can be misused by a cultural or political elite

  • The need to open up for a broader range of experiences and groups within a public broadcaster

Uk 2000

UK 2000

  • Five television channels

  • The worst performer (BBC 2): 97 % of characters in speaking roles white, 2 % black and 1 % Asian.

  • The only stallite channel Sky One came out on top.

Uk 2010

UK 2010

  • 40 percent of all under 25’s in key urban areas will be from an ethnic minority.

  • Challenge: this audience is not connecting with public service broadcasting



  • In the ’new’ multi-ethnic reality of Norway integration is often held as the solution. Expressed in NRK’s legal framework.

  • NRK (2004): Migrapolis a proof of their dedication to the minorities.

Lessons learnt

Lessons learnt?

  • Except for Migrapolis the NRK does not cater for the different ethnic minorities in Norway to any great extent.

  • What happens to the right to public representation?

  • And the claim that the public broadcaster shall reflect Norway as a multi-cultural and multi-ethnic society?

  • What happens to the need to provide programmes that address wide and narrow groups?

Lessons to be learnt

Lessons to be learnt

  • The need for representation is crucial to multi-ethnic societies.

  • Not necessarily numeric representations or that journalists should cover the group they belong to.

  • Easier to cover a society with new and diverse perspectives when the voices and faces on radio and tv reflect the pluralism and diversity of the nation being addressed through the media.

Lessons to be learnt1

Lessons to be learnt

A member of an excluded ethnic group may have formal citizen rights, but media as a cultural mechanism may operate to hinder the genuine development as a full member of the society.

‘Cultural citizenship’ may be as important as ‘political citizenship’.

Ex: Denmark: Big Brother.

Lessons to be learnt2

Lessons to be learnt

  • We need to open up the theoretical frameworks for inputs from other parts of the world and from other groups within our own society than the ones that usually get to talk.

  • We need theories and models that can lead us to different realities, different truths and more interesting stories.

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