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Tydskrif vir Geesteswetenskappe

On-line version ISSN 2224-7912
Print version ISSN 0041-4751

Tydskr. geesteswet. vol.49 n.1 Pretoria  2009

 

Openbare uitsaaiwese en politieke intervensionis-me in 'n postbevrydingsamelewing: Die SAUK en kompeterende meta-narratiewe (regimevoorkeure)

 

Public broadcasting and political interventionism in a post liberation society: The SABC and contending meta-narratives (regime preferences)

 

 

Piet Croucamp

Departement Politiek, Universiteit van Johannesburg pietc@uj.ac.za

 

 


OPSOMMING

Die diskoers met betrekking tot die rol en funksie van die openbare uitsaaier word gereflekteer in diverse, kompeterende meta-narratiewe. Meta-narratiewe verwys na 'n normatiewe politieke voorkeur met betrekking tot die vestiging van instellings van beheer, die formulering van die reels van sosiale ordening, asook die sosiale waardes wat daardie reëls onderlê (regimes). Hierdie artikel ontleed die rol en funksie van die openbare uitsaaier in Suid-Afrika in die konteks van die nasionale politieke diskoers, asook die regverdiging vir die meta-narratief van voorkeur soos aangebied in die konteks van sosiaal-politieke geregtigheid. Die organisatoriese spanning tussen 'n intervensionistiese rol en funksie van die staat, en 'n regulatoriese voorkeur van liberaal-demokratiese regimes, het pertinente konsekwensies vir die operasionele definisie van die nasionale uitsaaiwese. Die wyse waarop die staat se rol en werking binne die samelewing gedefinieer word, is direk in verhouding met die wyse waarop die openbare uitsaaiwese geformuleer word. Die intervensionistiese verwysingsraamwerk het sy oorsprong in die bevrydingsnarratief en die regulatoriese verwysingsraamwerk het konseptuele en operasionele verbintenisse met die liberale (utilitaristiese) narratief. In die konteks van die spanning tussen kompeterende regimes word die openbare uitsaaiwese byna noodwendig 'n terrein vir politieke en sosiale mededinging. Die beginsel van institusionele outonomiteit is dus teoreties eerder as empiries.

Trefwoorde: SAUK, SAUK-raad, nuuskantoor, regime, liberalisme, utilitarisme, openbare uitsaaiwese, politieke bevryding, aanspreeklikheid verteen-woordiging


ABSTRACT

The discourse pertaining to the role and function of the public broadcaster reflects diverse and competing meta-narratives. Meta-narratives refer to the normative political preferences pertaining to the consolidation of institutions of social order, and the formulation of the rules and social values underlying such rules. A number of meta-narratives are reflected in the discourse pertaining to the role and functioning of the public broadcaster in South Africa. This article reflects on the contending regime preferences of liberationism and libertarianism, prevalent within society, as well as the state, and the extent to which they (contending regimes) influence notions of control and authority in the SABC. The premis is that this contest between dominant regimes will determine how the SABC executes its mandate. A cardinal indicator of liberationism is the justification for state interventionism in the distribution of the greater good and the need to facilitate a nation-building program. To the contrary libertarianism advances the notion of institutional autonomy for the public broadcaster (from the state-building process), as a means of protecting the public broadcasting from state interference. The SABC operates in the context of a developing political economy and a relative weak institutionalised state. Under such conditions, the ruling party -with its history embedded in liberationist justifications for justice and social order - functions under continuous societal pressure to legitimise its policies and its implementation (or lack of implementation). The conclusion is that weak states and governments which experience strong (but fragmented) societies encroaching upon their autonomy, will experience the urge to occupy the public broadcaster with party-political functionaries, and then use the institution in the justification of a particular regime preference. The prospect of the public broadcaster becoming a state broadcaster is therefore pertinent under conditions typical to post-liberationist societies where the state is weak and democracy not consolidated. In this context, due to its opposition to interventionism, libertarianism is stigmatised as a regime preference, especially so those social values associated with market forces, and which are left to - largely unfettered - determine the extent and nature of social justice and representation. Liberationism and its institutional architecture emphasise the necessity of representation, whereas libertarianism defines the role of the state and government in terms of its accountability to the electorate or society. The management of the SABC, and the execution of the mandate of the public broadcaster, therefore, reflect the struggles within society and those conflicts permeating the relations between state and society, and/or between the ruling party and its contenders. Whether or not it is at all possible for the (colonial) tradition of public broadcasting to be established in a developing political economy, is a moot point. That, however, does not question the pedagogic role of the national broadcaster, it merely suggests that it may well not be feasible to conceptualise the role of the SABC in libertarian terms or to expect the state (or the ruling party) to maintain an operational distance between itself and the main source of national news in South Africa.

Key concepts: SABC, SABC Board, newsroom, regime, liberalism, utilitarianism, public broadcasting, political liberation, accountability, representivity


 

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Koerante
Cape Times, 19 Junie 2006
Financial Mail, 4 Mei 2001

 

 

1 Die afkorting SAUK word deurlopend gebruik vir Suid-Afrikaanse Uitsaaikorporasie. Die afkorting SABC (South African Broadcasting Corporation) word egter algemeen gebruik deur kanale, stasies en die bestuur van die SAUK.
2 Sien Artikel VI van die 2002 Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression in Africa, uitgereik deur die Afrikakommissie vir Menseregte van die Afrika-unie.
3 Belangeverteenwoordiging staan teenoor groepsverteenwoordiging, as 'n konsep eie aan liberalisme en beklemtoon invidualisme en direkte verantwoordbaarheid teenoor groepsverteenwoordiging en kollektiewe verantwoordbaarheid.
4 In die uitspraak in die hofsaak het die regter bevind dat Shaik wel in 'n korrupte persoonlike verhouding met Jacob Zuma was. Hoewel Zuma nie per implikasie skuldig bevind kan word nie, het die skuldigbevinding van Shaik daartoe gelei dat president Mbeki Zuma afgedank het. Die alreeds meetbare verdeeldheid wat Mbeki se presidensie gekenmerk het (hoofsaaklik tussen die president en die ANC-jeugliga en Cosatu), het 'n meer spesifieke dimensie verkry deurdat die bevrydingsbeweging verder verdeel is in 'n Mbeki-kamp en 'n Zuma-kamp. Met die Polokwane konferensie van 2008 het die Zuma-kamp daarin geslaag om beheer van die ANC oor te neem.

 

 

Piet Croucamp het 'n D.Phil-graad van die Universiteit van die Vrystaat. Hy is tans verbonde aan die Departement Politiek aan die Universiteit van Johannesburg. Hy bied voorgraadse en nagraadse kursusse in Suid-Afrikaanse politiek aan en spesialiseer in kwantitatiewe navorsings-metodes. Croucamp het reeds verskeie artikels gepubliseer oor politieke teorie, asook die konsep-tualisering en operasionalisering van sosiale kapitaal in ontwikkelende politieke stelsels.

Piet Croucamp holds a D.Phil degree from the University of the Free State. He lectures in the Department of Politics at the University of Johannesburg where he is responsible for undergraduate and postgraduate courses in South African politics. He specialises in quantitative research methods. Croucamp has published a number of articles on political theory and the conceptualisation and operationalisation of social capital in developing political systems.

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