Contents: THE MEDIA AND APARTHEID • SOUTH AFRICA: THE MEDIA UNDER APARTHEID • AMERICAN MEDIA COVERAGE • This ISSUE BRIEF includes an interview with Roger Wilkins, who has long been involved in both journalism and South African issues; he is now a member of the Steering Committee of the Free South Africa Movement. Two essays examine the nature of news coverage of South Africa by the U.S. press (mainly the Washington Post and the New York Times and network television programs - "Nightline" and "Sixty Minutes") and how the media fares under apartheid inside South Africa. The anti-apartheid struggle in the U.S. has faced both open and hidden criticism largely from right-wing conservatives and others who, knowingly or not, continue to attempt to defend and protect apartheid, or at the very least, buy time for this "crime against humanity." One of the tools employed by the right-wing is the argument that apartheid South Africa has numerous admirable qualities, such as having the freest media on the continent. However, South African laws prohibit news organizations in South Africa from (a) covering incidents ranging from peaceful funerals to violent clashes between the security forces and those opposing apartheid; (b) publishing the names, pictures, or pronouncements of persons who are jailed, detained, or banned for opposing apartheid; (c) reporting on prisons or their inmates; and (d) publishing - without government approval - stories about government corruption. South African journalists and writers who have been banned include Zwelakhe Sisulu, Phil Mtimkulu, Joe Thloloe, Charles Nqakula, Mathatha Tsedu, Mari Subramoney, and Vuyisile Mdleleni. The newsletter mentions Joseph Kraft, Richard Cohen, Randall Robinson, Representative Bill Clay, Representative Charles Diggs, the Africa Affairs sub-committee of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Mary Frances Berry, Walter Fauntroy, Sylvia Hill, NBC News, This Morning with David Brinkley, Desmond Tutu, the Nobel Prize, Anatoly Scharansky, William Raspberry, Kenneth Walker, Les Payne, Newsday, “Cry, the Beloved Country,” the play "Lost in the Stars," Canada Lee, the Reagan administration, "constructive engagement," Jean Kirkpatrick, George Will, Nelson Mandela, Zindzi Mandela, P.W. Botha, the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), the Internal Security Act, the Publications Act No 42 of 1974, the African National Congress (ANC), state media ownership, Minister of Information Connie Mulder, the 'Muldergate' scandal, UNESCO, BBC, Roger Jepsen, Dick Clark, John Tunney, the Sacramento Union, The Washington Star, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Birch Bayh, Ed Koch, Northern Michigan University, Gerald Ford; John McGoff, Panax, The Rand Daily Mail, The Citizen, the conservative Christian League of South Africa, the World Council of Churches (WCC), the Johannesburg Sunday Express, the Information Department, John Vorster, Allister Sparks, Glenn Frankel, Alan Cowell, Stephen Rosenfeld, Anthony Lewis, the American Bar Association, Winnie Mandela, Percy Qoboza, Otto Krause, Uitenhage, Eschel Rhoodie, Gen. Henrik van den Bergh, South Africa's secret police, Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Louis Nel, Donald Woods, and TransAfrica Forum staff Niikwao Akuetteh, Ibrahim J. Gassama, Elizabeth Alexander, Aisha Davis, Hulbert James. Jr., and Perrin J. Reid.
Used by permission of TransAfrica Forum.
Collection: William Minter Southern Africa Papers