Fight for Democracy: The African National Congress and the Media in South Africa

Paperback
Fight for Democracy is a penetrating and critical scrutiny of the ANC's treatment of the print media since the inception of democracy in 1994. In this book, Glenda Daniels does not hide behind a veil of detachment, but instead makes a passionate argument for the view that newspapers and journalists play a significant role in the deepening of democratic principles. Daniels' study goes to the heart of current debates and asks why the ANC, given its stated commitment to the democratic objectives of the Constitution, is so ambivalent about the freedom of the media. What would be the consequences of a revised media policy on democracy in South Africa, and at what cost to freedom of expression? Daniels examines the pattern of paranoia that has crept into public discourse about the media and the ANC, and the conflictual relationship between the two. She argues that the ANC's understanding of democracy, transformation and development entails (amongst other things) the rallying of the nation behind its leadership as the premier liberation movement and democratically elected representative of the majority while morally coercing black journalists and professionals into loyalty. Daniels challenges the dominant ANC view that journalists are against transformation and that they take instruction from the owners of the media houses; in short that they are 'enemies of the people'. Fight for Democracy is a timely publication in the context of the impending clampdown on media freedom and the twin threats of the Protection of State Information Bill (Secrecy Bill) and the Media Appeals Tribunal, both of which signify closures in South Africa's democracy. Written in a polemical style, this is a work of activism that will be essential reading for the informed public as well as those working in Journalism and Media Studies. It should interest all democrats, members of political organisations as well as academics and Right2Know activists, locally and internationally.