Media Ethics Exam (June 2007)

Simone Gregor


The South African Government’s decision (in 2002) to amend the Broadcasting Bill was met with much disapproval by many in the media. It was argued that this step defeated one of the key objectives of the bill, to ensure that the public broadcaster, the SABC, would remain independent from the government. In trying to reduce the SABC to the status of “government mouthpiece” and so doing argueably losing credibility in the eyes of the public, the goverment was severely criticized by many media monitors. The goverment, however, argued that it was excercising its mandate in terms of its responsibility towards the public to ensure a fair and responsible media environment and redress the imbalances created by colonialism and apartheid.
This debate leads to important questions on the role of the media in society: What duties are the South African media,and especially the SABC, expected to perform, and what normative theories do these duties fall under?

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