There is no doubt that a government in control of the media, particularly a national broadcaster, can control the way its’ population thinks. Propaganda is the obvious tool for this and its use ensures that the powerful and privileged remain powerful and privileged. It is for this reason that in a democratic state, the government should not be allowed to impose itself on the media.
The media, like healthy opposition, has an important role to play in not only the creation of democracy, but in the maintenance thereof as well. A part of this role is ensuring that no single party has absolute power, thereby creating a single-party state. As such, the media, particularly the national broadcaster has a vested interest in ensuring that opposition parties enjoy the same benefits as the ruling party in terms of campaign airtime; press conferences and the likes.
It is therefore very disturbing to note how much airtime the ANC received from the SABC for their recent manifesto launch, as compared to opposition parties. Without a doubt, the SABC has over the years, through it’s news programs and selective reporting, proved itself to be very biased and one can even go on to say that it has been used as the voice of the ANC.
However, I believe that it is not something that should be taken lightly. By giving the ANC so much airtime & not the opposition, the SABC is playing a part in the subversion of democracy; which is a danger to us all. One of the most vital roles of the media in a democracy is to assist in ensuring that we don’t fall prey to a ‘one-party’ state, which is dictatorship disguised as democracy. It is unacceptable that a national broadcaster behaves in such a way and as citizens, we shouldn’t take it lying down, it will only be to our detriment if we do.