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South Africa: Media System

Guy Berger


South Africa had an estimated population of 48 million people in 2007, with almost a third being under the age of 14. Eight in ten people were classified as African; among the rest, whites were the largest minority. Since 1994, there has been a constitutional democracy with an executive president elected by parliament, which recognizes 11 official languages (although these are still far from having equitable representation in the media). The former liberation movement, the African National Congress (ANC), is the ruling party, having won overwhelming electoral mandates since 1994. Under its policies, some 85 percent of homes had electricity by 2005, with more than 10 million households recorded in the South Africa yearbook 2008/09 ( Burger 2009 ), thereby enabling increased TV penetration. There is a growing black middle class. The government practices a “black economic empowerment” policy, which gives preference to formerly disadvantaged South Africans in terms of contracts and broadcast licensing. The country was infamous for its apartheid policies (1948–1994), which built upon the white domination and segregation that evolved after Dutch settlers began arriving in the mid-seventeenth century. British colonialism in the nineteenth century saw 100 years of wars of conquest and resistance, ending with African South Africans retaining only 13 percent of the land. An indigenous middle ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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