by Dennis Brutus, Africa Network, Commonwealth Secretariat
London, United Kingdom
May 1985
Publisher: Commonwealth Secretariat
7 pages
Type: Conference Presentation
Coverage in Africa: South Africa
Coverage outside Africa: United States, United Kingdom
Language: English
Paper presented at the Media Workshop "Countering Apartheid Propaganda" on May 20-22, 1985. The U.S. media are reporting about South Africa more often, frequently with pictures. This is making a strong impact on public awareness, but it will not necessarily continue. It also is necessary to look at ways the news is distorted. The paper says several aspects need to be considered: the control of the media by major U.S.-based corporations that are operating in South Africa, many of which are part of larger corporate interests that have interlocking financial and manufacturing interests both in the U.S. and South Africa. Advertisers can exert considerable influence on the type of material that appears. The influence of television reporting, superficial and restricted to short periods, handicaps in-depth reporting. The conservative political climate in the U.S. under Reaganism is also an impediment, and the climate of the U.S. has become increasingly racist and hostile to minorities. The paper says more than 500 corporations have some form of operation in South Africa, working within the apartheid system and derive considerable profit from it. Because of their financial resources, they have considerable leverage on the media in the U.S. Because of the conservative cast of editors and of editorial policy, news coverage is a limit and selective - for example, United Nations decisions on apartheid are rarely reported. The Reagan Administration exerts influence on the dissemination of news via the Voice of America under its director Charles Wick and in Radio Free Europe and Radio Jose Marti. The paper discusses Anthony Lewis, Tom Wicker, Flora Lewis, the New York Times, Nation, Guardian, Chicago Tribune, In These Times, Anglo-American Corporation, bantustans, Kwazulu, Buthelezi, South African Non-Racial Olympic Committee (SAN-ROC), Steve Cuien, Allan Streeter, Sen. Paul Simon, Rep. Charles Hayes, Edward Palmer, Jane Ramsey, Dr. Ralph Henley, Rev. Orlando Redakopp, Robert Lucas, Thomas Savage, constructive engagement, the United Democratic Front (UDF), Allan Boesak, Beyers Naude, Crossroads, Sen. Edward Kennedy, investment, tax credits, the Krugerrand, South African Airways, and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. Appendices include a newspaper article "Apartheid foes acquitted, Jury rules trespass 'necessary'" by Rosalind Rossi, STATEMENT IN SUPPORT by Dennis Brutus, two newspaper guest columns "The smiling mask is ripped off" by Dennis Brutus and "We pursue fairness and justice" by P.W. Botha, and STATEMENT OF SUPPORT TO NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY ANTI-APARTHEID ALLIANCE FROM NAOMI TUTU-SEAVERS, DAUGHTER OF NOBEL PEACE PRIZE WINNER SOUTH AFRICAN BISHOP DESMOND TUTU.
Used by permission of former members of Africa Network.
Collection: Selma Waldman collection on the Seattle Coalition Against Apartheid (SCCA), Michigan State University Libraries Special Collections