- Popular media in Commonwealth countries today (reading and listening exercises)
- Children’s media in Commonwealth countries
- Control and censorship of media in the Commonwealth
Work through the following key terms and concepts in your groups using the course compendium and related materials:
- British model of broadcast media
- Mass media in India
- Regulation of media
- Mass Media in Australia
- Mass Media in South Africa
Mass media is part of globalisation, government, education and popular culture. Like these areas of of human and cultural interaction, media is complicated. Think about your own relationship to media, how you use it and how it effects you.In this lecture I am am going to talk about some of the media systems in the countries we have been dealing with in the course. There are once again great similarities between each of the nations in their structures of media. But there are great differences in how media is integrated into peoples lives in each state.
EnglandReporters without Borders worldwide press freedom ranking for 2007: 24th The history of media in England is a very long one. The first commercial modern newspapers were published in England in the 18th century. I want to just summarise a few points here in regards to England that are relevant to the rest of the course in terms of media.
The British Model of Broadcast Media
The model for broadcast media that was first established in the United Kingdom in the first decades of the Twentieth century became a model for many parts of the British Empire and later the Commonwealth of nations. The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) was the world's first national broadcasting organisation and was founded on 18 October 1922 as the British Broadcasting Company Ltd; It was subsequently granted a Royal Charter and was made a publicly funded corporation in 1927. The Royal Charter decreed that the BBC's views be entirely independent of any private or governmental influence. It is thereby required to "be free from both political and commercial influence and answer only to its viewers and listeners". According to its Charter, the BBC's mission is "to enrich people's lives with programmes and services that inform, educate and entertain." (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BBC)
The influence of a large and powerful institution such as the BBC on media activities as news gathering and programming structures is extensive. In South Africa, India, and Australia the main public broadcaster, with the possible exception of India due to its large number of regional languages and media outlets, exerts a large degree of influence on the overall broadcast media landscape. In Australia, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), Doordarshan in India and the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) each follow similar forms to the BBC. Each occupies a defining position in the mass media of their respective nations. Each is administered under government legislation, although unlike the BBC Doorsharshan does not have an independent editorial control. Prasar Bharati, its parent body has all board members appointed by the Government of India acting through the Information and Broadcasting Ministry. This control is evident in a budget that allows expenditure on "propaganda and public relations". The ABC Board of Directors is directly appointed by the Fderal government of Australia. The SABC Board of Directors is also appointed by the South African Government. In July 2009 the SABC Board was dissolved by then acting President Kgalema Motlanthe.
Mass Media in the United Kingdom/England
The United Kingdom has an extremely diverse media with an almost unrivalled number of outlets, second only to the United States.
List of Media Sites for the United Kingdom.
Listing websites, addresses, telephone numbers, live links and more for all areas of the online media, it's your one-stop media portal. Continually updated with 50 updates over the past week, we currently list 836 radio stations, 512 television channels, 1,596 newspapers, and 1,931 magazines.
British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)
The BBC is the model public service media network for many countries that once belonged to the British Empire. Content from the BBC features heavily on the ABC in Australia. With the establishment of cable and satellite television the BBC is a world leader in the field. The British Broadcasting Corporation, which is usually known simply as the BBC, is the largest broadcasting corporation in the world in terms of audience numbers and revenue. It has 26,000 employees in the United Kingdom alone and a budget of more than £4 billion. Founded on 18 October 1922 as the British Broadcasting Company Ltd, it was subsequently granted a Royal Charter and made a state-owned corporation in 1927. The corporation produces programmes and information services, broadcasting globally on television, radio, and the internet. The stated mission of the BBC is "to inform, educate and entertain"; its motto is "Nation Shall Speak Peace Unto Nation". The BBC is a quasi-autonomous Public Corporation operating as a public service broadcaster. The Corporation is run by the BBC Trust; and is, per its charter, "free from both political and commercial influence and answers only to its viewers and listeners". Wikipedia
The Digital Divide in England (2007)
n 2005 there was a twelve percentage point gap between the number of adults with broadband at home in Northern Ireland (lowest at 24%), Wales (25%), Scotland (31%) and England (highest at 36%). This year’s report shows that by 2006 this gap had reduced to three percentage points. Take-up in England stood at 45% and in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales had reached 42%.
In 2005 the gap between the nations in terms of digital television take-up was even larger at 19 percentage points ( Wales at 72%, England at 66%, Scotland at 60% and NI at 53%). By 2006 this gap had reduced to 13 percentage points (Wales at 82%, England at 75%, Scotland at 76% and NI at 69%).
Childrens's Media in England
The Magic Roundabout (1971)
Blue Peter 1978
The Tomorrow People (1973)
Basil Brush and Rolf Harris
IndiaReporters without Borders worldwide press freedom ranking for 2007: 120th
Indian media—initiated since the late 1700s with print media started in 1780, radio broadcasting initiated in 1927, and the screening of Auguste and Louis Lumière moving pictures in Bombay initiated during the July of 1895 —is among the oldest and largest media of the world. Indian media—private media in particular—has been free and independent throughout most of its history. The period of Emergency in India (1975–1977), declared by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, was the brief period when India's media was faced with potential government retribution.
Mass Media in India
Mass media in India is that part of the Indian media which aims to reach a wide audience. Besides the news media, which includes print, radio and television, the internet is playing an increasing role, along with the growth of the Indian blogging community.
Compared with many other developing countries, the Indian press is relatively unfettered, except for obstacles in the way of setting up media companies which were part of the pre-1990 license raj. In 2001, India had 45,974 newspapers, including 5364 daily newspapers published in over 100 languages. The largest number of newspapers were published in Hindi (20,589), followed by English (7,596), Marathi (2,943), Urdu (2,906), Bengali (2,741), Gujarati (2,215), Tamil (2,119), Kannada (1,816), Malayalam(1,505) and Telugu (1,289). The Hindi daily press has a circulation of over 23 million copies, followed by English with over 8 million copies. There are several major publishing groups in India, the most prominent among them being the Times of India Group, the Indian Express Group, the Hindustan Times Group, Essel Group, The Hindu group, the Anandabazar Patrika Group, the Eenadu Group, the Malayala Manorama Group, the Mathrubhumi group, the Kerala Kaumudi group, the Sahara group, the Bhaskar group, and the Dainik Jagran group.
India has more than forty domestic news agencies. The Express News Service, the Press Trust of India, and the United News of India are among the major news agencies.
Historical Perspective of Mass Media Laws in India
Mass Media laws in India have a long history and are deeply rooted in the country’s colonial experience under British rule. The earliest regulatory measures can be traced back to 1799 when Lord Wellesley promulgated the Press Regulations, which had the effect of imposing pre-censorship on an infant newspaper publishing industry. The onset of 1835 saw the promulgation of the Press Act, which undid most of, the repressive features of earlier legislations on the subject.
Thereafter on 18th June 1857, the government passed the ‘Gagging Act’, which among various other things, introduced compulsory licensing for the owning or running of printing presses; empowered the government to prohibit the publication or circulation of any newspaper, book or other printed material and banned the publication or dissemination of statements or news stories which had a tendency to cause a furore against the government, thereby weakening its authority.
Then followed the ‘Press and Registration of Books Act’ in 1867 and which continues to remain in force till date. Governor General Lord Lytton promulgated the ‘Vernacular Press Act’ of 1878 allowing the government to clamp down on the publication of writings deemed seditious and to impose punitive sanctions on printers and publishers who failed to fall in line. In 1908, Lord Minto promulgated the ‘Newspapers (Incitement to Offences) Act, 1908 which authorized local authorities to take action against the editor of any newspaper that published matter deemed to constitute an incitement to rebellion.
However, the most significant day in the history of Media Regulations was the 26th of January 1950 – the day on which the Constitution was brought into force. The colonial experience of the Indians made them realise the crucial significance of the ‘Freedom of Press’. Such freedom was therefore incorporated in the Constitution; to empower the Press to disseminate knowledge to the masses and the Constituent Assembly thus, decided to safeguard this ‘Freedom of Press’ as a fundamental right. Although, the Indian Constitution does not expressly mention the liberty of the press, it is evident that the liberty of the press is included in the freedom of speech and expression under Article 19(1)(a):
Article 19 Protection of certain rights regarding freedom of speech, etc.
(1) All citizens shall have the right -
(a) to freedom of speech and expression;
(b) to assemble peaceably and without arms;
(c) to form associations or unions;
(d) to move freely throughout the territory of India;
(e) to reside and settle in any part of the territory of India; and
(f) to practice any profession, or to carry on any occupation, trade or business. (Constitution of India http://www.servat.unibe.ch/icl/in00000_.html)
It is however pertinent to mention that, such freedom is not absolute but is qualified by certain clearly defined limitations under Article 19(2) in the interests of the public.
It is necessary to mention here that, this freedom under Article 19(1)(a) is not only cribbed, cabined and confined to newspapers and periodicals but also includes pamphlets, leaflets, handbills, circulars and every sort of publication which affords a vehicle of information and opinion:
Thus, although the freedom of the press is guaranteed as a fundamental right, it is necessary for us to deal with the various laws governing the different areas of media so as to appreciate the vast expanse of media laws. From: http://www.legalserviceindia.com/articles/media.htm
Doordarshan (sometimes DoorDarshan; (Hindi:दूरदर्शन); literaly means TeleVision) is the public television broadcaster of India and a division of Prasar Bharati, a board nominated by the Government of India. It is one of the largest broadcasting organisations in the world in terms of the infrastructure of studios and transmitters. Recently it has also started Digital Terrestrial Transmitters.
The Times of India (TOI) is a leading English-language broadsheet daily newspaper in India. It is owned and managed by Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. (The Times Group). The newspaper has the widest circulation among all English-language broadsheets in India. In 2005, the newspaper reported that (with a daily circulation of over 2.4 million) it was certified by the Audit Bureau of Circulations as the world's largest selling English broadsheet newspaper.
How the Times of India is produced
The national broadcaster in India is Prasar Bharati (Broadcasting Corporation of India)
Prasar Bharati is a statutory autonomous body established under the Prasar Bharati Act. The Board came into existence from 23.11.1997. The Prasar Bharati is the Public Service broadcaster of the country. The objective of public service broadcasting is to be achieved though All India Radio and Doordarshan which earlier were working as independent media units under the Ministry of I&B.
All India Radio
All India Radio (abbreviated as AIR), officially known as Akashvani (Devanagari: आकाशवाणी, ākāshavānī) (Urdu : اکاشوانی), is the radio broadcaster of India and a division of Prasar Bharati (Broadcasting Corporation of India), an autonomous corporation of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India. Established in 1936, today, it is the sister service of Prasar Bharati's Doordarshan, the national television broadcaster.
All India Radio is one of the largest radio networks in the world. The headquarters is at the Akashwani Bhavan, New Delhi. Akashwani Bhavan houses the drama section, the FM section and the National service. The Doordarshan Kendra (Delhi) is also located on the 6th floor of Akashvani Bhavan.
During his regular broadcasts from the Azad Hind Radio, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose (Leader of the Indian National Army in World War II) used to refer to the pre-independence AIR as Anti Indian Radio.
Children's Television in South Africa
Cambala Investigation Agency
Toon Disney India
Reporters without Borders worldwide press freedom ranking for 2007: 43rd
Mass Media in South Africa
The media of South Africa has a large and flourishing mass media sector and is the African continent's major media player. While South Africa's many broadcasters and publications reflect the diversity of the population as a whole, the most commonly used language is English, although all ten other official languages are represented to some extent or another. Afrikaans is the second most commonly used language, especially in the publishing sector.
Up until 1994, the country had a thriving Alternative press comprised of community broadsheets, bilingual weeklies and even student "zines" and xeroxed samizdat. After the elections, funding and support for such ventures dried up, but there has been a resurgence of interest in alternative forms of news gathering of late, particularly since the events of September 11, 2001.
Of course much of the history of mass media in South Africa is tied to the history of apartheid. During the apartheid era, newspapers had to apply for registration if they published more than 11 times a year. An arbitrary amount was also required before registration was approved. A history of the press in South Africa introduces many of the major themes of the history of media in the country in general. The power of the mining industry, the politics of the state and the struggle for representation by the majority of the population influence the nature of mass media in the nation. See The History of the Press in South Africa
It has been pointed out that almost all the large daily newspapers are owned by just four large media firms, which could lead to pro-Corporate bias. In addition, the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), which is the public broadcaster, is argued by many to carry a fairly strong pro-ruling party (African National Congress (ANC)) bias, especially considering the fact that the majority of its management and executive staff are either ANC members or ANC aligned.
A News Bulletin from Swaziland
The Kingdom of Swaziland is a country located in Southern Africa, centred at approximately 26o49'S, 31o38'E. It is relatively small in area, similar in size to Kuwait. Swaziland is a landlocked country, bordered by South Africa on three sides except to the east, where it borders Mozambique. The country, inhabited primarily by Bantu-speaking Swazi people, is named after the 19th century king Mswati II, from whom the people also take their name. The HIV/AIDS prevalence rate in Swaziland is the highest in the world at 38.8%, and is much higher than that of sub-Saharan Africa overall (7.5%) and globally (1.1%). Life expectancy at birth in Swaziland is little above 30 years.
Internet Traffic Flows 2005. You will notice that Africa, particularly Southern Africa is very much 'out of the loop' when it comes to internet access on a large scale. The channels for the Net run from east to West not from North to South. Access to information is one of the great challenges for South Africa in the 21st century.
South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC)
The SABC is South Africa’s national public service broadcaster. As such, it is obliged to provide a comprehensive range of distinctive programmes and services. It must inform, educate, entertain, support and develop culture and education and as far as possible secure fair and equal treatment for the various groupings in the nation and the country, while offering world-class programming on television and radio. The SABC’s television network comprises four television channels - three of them free-to-air and the fourth pay-TV. Combined the free-to-air channels attract more than 17,5 million adult viewers daily, reaching 89% of the total adult TV-viewing population.
Television in South Africa Television is the most tightly regulated media sector in South Africa and is (along with radio) regulated by the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA). Broadcast rights, especially for television, are issued by invitation only and only two independent television broadcasters have been permitted to operate up to now. Broadcast licenses mandate percentages of local, community and educational content and broadcasters are required to include such content as a condition of their license.
As a result, there are only four free-to-air terrestrial television channels in South Africa, the South African Broadcasting Corporation's (SABC) Channels 1, 2 and 3 as well as e.tv. The SABC is South Africa's state-owned public broadcaster.
More News from SABC TV
3rd Degree is a current affairs program from South Africa The Rights of the Disabled in South Africa
Children's Television in English Shown in South Africa
Hectic Nine 9
The Mysterious Cities of Gold
Reporters without Borders worldwide press freedom ranking for 2007: 36th
Early Media in Australia
Most material published in the first twenty years of the New South Wales colony notified soldiers, convicts and private settlers of the many rules set by the Governor. These 'government orders' were printed on a portable wooden and iron printing press that had been carried to the colony on the First Fleet. The orders were then displayed or announced aloud in public places and in churches at the compulsory Sunday services as more than half of the early colonists could not read.
In November 1800, The Royal Admiral docked in the colony carrying a transported convict, George Howe, who arrived with printing experience from the West Indies and London. These valuable skills were quickly put to work at the government press, and the colony's first locally published book, a compilation of government orders, was produced in 1802.
George Howe was also permitted to print Australia's first newspaper from a humble shed located at the rear of Government House. From 5 March 1803, the Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser was on sale as a weekly edition with four portfolio pages of official material and a limited number of private notices. In early editions of the paper, a colonist could find shipping news, auction results, crime reports and agricultural notices as well as poems, literature and religious advice. To collect local news, the editor hung a 'slip box' in front of the store where the paper was issued
News from abroad arrived on the clipper ships and was usually ten to fourteen weeks out-of-date by the time it was published.
Electronic Media in Australia The first radio "broadcast" in Australia was organised by George Fisk of AWA on 19th August 1919 where he arranged for the National Anthem to be broadcast from one building to another at the end of a lecture he'd given on the new medium to the Royal Society of NSW.(History of Radio in Australia)
Television started in Australia with the Olympic Games in Melbourne in 1956.
Media Regulation in Australia - cross ownership rules.
The major effect of the laws is to prevent the common ownership of newspapers, television and radio broadcasting licences that serve the same region. The purpose of the legislation is to encourage diversity in the ownership of the most influential forms of the commercial media: the daily press and free-to-air television and radio. The justification for the rules is that the effective functioning of a democracy requires a diverse ownership of the daily mass media to ensure that public life be reported in a fair and open manner.http://www.aph.gov.au/library/INTGUIDE/SP/media_regulations.htm
Australian Communications and Media Authority
The ACMA is the government regulating body for media in Australia. Australian media ownership is one of the most concentrated in the world. The last review of media ownership in Australia (1999) found that of 12 capital city and daily papers, seven are owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation and three by John Fairfax Holdings. The West Australian and the Canberra Times are the only independently owned dailies.
One of the richest men in the world and the owner of a huge media empire, Rupert Murdoch is Australian and he began with newspapers, magazines and television stations in his native Australia, Murdoch expanded News Corp into the UK, US and Asian media markets. In recent years has become a leading investor in satellite television, the film industry, the Internet and media. News Corp is today based in New York and Murdoch became an United States citizen in 1985. He inherited newspapers from his father, legendary Australian journalist Keith Murdoch who died in 1952.
One of the most popular commercial television channels in Australia.
SBS (Special Broadcasting Service)
The Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) is Australia's multicultural and multilingual public broadcaster. SBS is unique. Its radio and television services broadcast in more languages than any other network in the world.
Sixty-eight languages are spoken on SBS Radio. Programs in more than 60 languages are broadcast on SBS Television, and Online, SBS New Media provides text and audio-on-demand services in more than 50 languages.
SBS was established to give voice and exposure to multicultural Australia; to define, foster and celebrate Australia's cultural diversity in accordance with our Charter obligation to "provide multilingual and multicultural radio and television services that inform, educate and entertain all Australians and, in doing so, reflect Australia's multicultural society".
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC)
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) is Australia's national public broadcaster, known previously as the Australian Broadcasting Commission. With a budget of AUD$823 million, the corporation provides television, radio and online services throughout metropolitan and regional Australia, as well as overseas through the Australia Network and Radio Australia. Through its commercial arm, ABC Commercial, the corporation runs a chain of retail outlets, selling books, audio and video recordings, and other merchandise related to its programs.
Founded in 1929 as the Australian Broadcasting Company, it was subsequently nationalised and made a state-owned corporation on July 1, 1932, becoming the Australian Broadcasting Commission. Following this, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation Act 1983 changed the name of the organisation to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation effective July 1, 1983. The corporation produces programmes and information services, broadcasting nationally on television, radio, and the Internet. The ABC is often referred to informally as "Aunty", the origin of this name derives directly from a nickname of the ABC's cousin, the BBC
News from ABC Western Australia, featuring the memorial service for TV personality Steve "Crocodile Hunter" Irwin.
The Sydney Morning Herald
The Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) is a daily broadsheet newspaper published by Fairfax Media in Sydney, Australia. The newspaper's Sunday edition, The Sun-Herald, is published in tabloid format. Founded in 1831 as the Sydney Herald, the SMH is the oldest continuously-published newspaper in Australia.
The Melbourne Age
The Age is a broadsheet daily newspaper, which has been published in Melbourne, Australia since 1854. The Age was founded by three Melbourne businessmen, the brothers John Cooke and Henry Cooke who had arrived from New Zealand in the 1840s, and Walter Powell. The first edition appeared on 17 October 1854. The Age currently has an average weekday circulation of 196,250, increasing to 292,250 on Saturdays (in a city of 3.8 million). The Sunday Age has a circulation of 194,750.
The Australian, also referred to as The Oz, is a broadsheet newspaper published in Australia Monday through Saturday each week since 1964. The editor is Chris Mitchell, and the 'editor-at-large' is Paul Kelly. The Australian is the biggest-selling national newspaper in the country, its chief rival being the business-focussed Australian Financial Review, with weekday sales of 135,000 and Saturday sales of 305,000. These figures are substantially below those enjoyed by metropolitan dailies in the major cities. The Australian is published by the Murdoch company News Limited, which also owns the sole or most popular metropolitan daily in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane.
Australian Children's Television
Skippy the Bush Kangaroo
Censorship can take a number of forms in relation to media today. These can be summarised as the reduced freedom of access to media, reduced freedom of expression in media, reduced multiplicities of expression in a media landscape and reduced possibilities to produce media. The traditional image of banning a book or a film is only one aspect of censorship in the world today. Being able to access multiple accounts of an event in media is important and a controlled media environment can prevent such a situation. Each of the countries discussed in this course is generally recognised as possessing a free press. However each has also banned publications, websites and manages the ownership of mass media outlets.
Australia is a federation, and responsibility for censorship is divided between the states and the federal government. The Federal Parliament has the power under the Australian Constitution to make laws relating to communications and customs. Under the communications power the federal government can regulate the broadcast media (television and radio), online services (the internet), and under the customs power, the import/export of printed matter, audiovisual recordings and computer games. However, the production and sale of printed matter, audiovisual recordings and computer games solely within Australia lies with the states.
However, to reduce duplication and ensure some national consistency, the states, territories and federal government have agreed to establish a co-operative national classification scheme. Under this scheme, the Office of Film and Literature Classification (OFLC) (a federal body) classifies works. Federal law enforces these classifications with respect to customs, and online services. (Broadcast media are not under the purview of the OFLC, but rather a separate federal agency, ACMA.)
But since the federal Parliament has no power to criminalise the domestic sale or exhibition of printed matter within the States, the States and Territories then as part of the scheme pass their own laws criminalising such sale and exhibition. However, although they have delegated their censorship responsibility in general to the Commonwealth, they reserve the legal right in specific cases to either:
- reclassify works,
- prohibit works that the Classification Board has allowed, or
- allow works that the Classification Board has prohibited
The Central Board of Film Certification, the regulatory film body of India, regularly orders directors to remove anything it deems offensive, including sex, nudity, violence or subjects considered politically subversive. In 2002, the film War and Peace, depicting scenes of nuclear testing and the 11 September atrocities, created by Anand Patwardhan, was asked to make 21 cuts before it was allowed to have the certificate for release. atwardhan objected, saying "The cuts that they asked for are so ridiculous that they won't hold up in court" and "But if these cuts do make it, it will be the end of freedom of expression in the Indian media." The court decreed the cuts unconstitutional and the film was shown uncut.
In 2002, the Indian filmmaker and former chief of the country's film censor board, Vijay Anand, proposed legalizing the exhibition of explicit films in selected cinemas across the country, saying "Porn is shown everywhere in India clandestinely... and the best way to fight this onslaught of blue movies is to show them openly in theatres with legally authorised licences". He resigned within a year after taking charge of the censor board after facing widespread criticism of his moves.
In 2003, the Indian Censor Board banned the film 'Gulabi Aaina (The Pink Mirror)', a film on queer India produced and directed by Sridhar Rangayan. The censor board cited that the film was 'vulgar and offensive'. The filmmaker appealed twice again unsuccessfully. The film still remains banned in India, but has screened at numerous festivals all over the world and won awards. The critics have appluaded it for its 'sensitive and touching portrayal of marginalized community'.
In 2004, the documentary Final Solution, which looks at religious rioting between Hindus and Muslims, was banned. The film follows 2002 clashes in the western state of Gujarat, which left more than 1,000 people dead. The censor board justified the ban, saying it was "highly provocative and may trigger off unrest and communal violence". The ban was lifted in Oct.'04 after a sustained campaign.
In 2006, seven states (Nagaland, Punjab, Goa, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh) have banned the release or exhibition of the Hollywood movie The Da Vinci Code (and also the book),although India's Central Board of Film Certification cleared the film for adult viewing throughout India. In 1989, Salman Rushdie's The Satanic Verses was banned in India, as it was in many countries, for its purported attacks on Islam. India was the second country in the world (after Singapore) to ban the book. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship_in_India
Press freedom has a chequered history in South Africa as well as a dubious current state. While some sectors of the South African media openly criticised the apartheid system and the National Party government, they were hampered by various amounts of government censorship during the years. For example, journalist Donald Woods became renowned after he fled to live in the United Kingdom in exile and expose the truth behind the death of Steve Biko, the leader of the Black Consciousness Movement. After the end of apartheid in 1994 however, censorship ended and a new constitution was enacted which has a Bill of Rights that guarantees that every citizen has the right to freedom of expression, which includes freedom of the press and media, the freedom to receive or impart information or ideas, freedom of artistic creativity, academic freedom, and freedom of scientific research. These freedoms are generally respected in practice and the press is considered relatively free. Laws concerning the media and political control over its content are generally considered to be moderate and there is little evidence of repressive measures against journalists. In consequence, South Africa is ranked joint 31st (with Australia) in Reporters Without Borders' worldwide index of press freedom 2005.
However, there has also been criticism of certain aspects of the freedom of the press in South Africa. It has been pointed out that almost all the large daily newspapers are owned by just four large media firms, which could lead to pro-Corporate bias. In addition, the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), which is the public broadcaster, is argued by many to carry a fairly strong pro-ruling party (African National Congress (ANC)) bias, especially considering the fact that the majority of its management and executive staff are either ANC members or ANC aligned. The cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad were banned in South Africa by Judge Mohammed Jajbhay on 3 February 2006.
Television is the most tightly regulated media sector in South Africa and is (along with radio) regulated by the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA). Broadcast rights, especially for television, are issued by invitation only and only two independent television broadcasters have been permitted to operate up to now. Broadcast licenses mandate percentages of local, community and educational content and broadcasters are required to include such content as a condition of their license. As a result, there are only four free-to-air terrestrial television channels in South Africa, the South African Broadcasting Corporation's (SABC) Channels 1, 2 and 3 as well as e.tv. The SABC is South Africa's state-owned public broadcaster.
Since the end of Apartheid, there has been a dearth of alternative media in South Africa as most of it got incorporated into mainstream corporate media as well as government and political party organising. Some of South Africa's largest social movements and other activist organisations have an online presence of alternative blogs and activist websites. According to the social movements, the importance of these alternative media sites are that they provide a way for 'poor people to speak for themselves'. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Media_of_South_Africa
The digital divide is the increasingly gaping void between those who are "connected", with two-way, video-rich, on-demand media being pumped into their home (or mobile device) over IP ("Internet Protocol"), and those who aren't: of the 40% of adults in the UK who don't have internet access, we reckon half of them have very negative attitudes to new media and don't see the benefit of the internet, the red button and - to a certain extent - mobile phones. A two-tier nation. Every bit as stark a divide as would be access to free health care for some and not others. http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/bbcinternet/2008/01/the_digital_divide_1.html
The introduction of controversial games featuring photo-realistic images, such as Mortal Kombat and Night Trap, led to calls from the British tabloid press for games to fall under the Video Recordings Act. The UK games publisher trade body ELSPA responded by introducing a voluntary age rating system in 1994. The ELSPA ratings were succeeded by PEGI in 2003. Nevertheless, although games are generally exempt from the Video Recordings Act, those depicting sexual content, or gross violence towards people or animals, must still be submitted to the BBFC for consideration. BBFC ratings are legally binding, and British law imposes stiff penalties on retailers who sell to under-aged customers. However, the Act was discovered in August 2009 to be unenforceable. The rating system is to be reviewed as part of the Digital Britain (http://www.culture.gov.uk/what_we_do/broadcasting/5631.aspx) project.
Carmageddon, in which the gameplay involved mowing down innocent pedestrians, was the first game to be refused classification in 1997, effectively banning it. The game's publisher, SCI, had a modified version created in which the pedestrians in question were replaced by green-blooded zombies, which completed a successful appeal against the BBFC to overturn their original decision. The uncensored, unmodified version of Carmageddon was later released under an 18-certificate.
In 2002 the Io Interactive game Hitman 2: Silent Assassin was withdrawn by a number of retailers due to religious sensitivities. The area in question involved a Sikh sect that were depicted as terrorists involved in arms smuggling and assassination. It also involved a section that many Sikhs believed to closely resemble the 1984 massacre at the Amritsar temple. In 2004, the parents of a murdered 14-year-old boy blamed Manhunt as having been "connected" to the murder. It was later found not to be, as the game was found in the victim's home, rather than the killer's. Leicestershire police "did not uncover any connections to the computer game." The accusations prompted some retailers to remove the game from their shelves. Nevertheless, following this incident the sales of the game rose due to the free publicity from newspaper headlines. The sequel, Manhunt 2, released in 2007, was banned in the UK by the BBFC. On appeal to the Video Appeals Committee this ruling was overturned however the BBFC launched a successful judicial review into the VAC's decision, forcing the VAC to reconsider its judgement. On 14 March 2008, the VAC again recommended that the game be released, a position to which the BBFC have now agreed. The game now, according to Play.com is reportedly available on 29/08/2008 on all 3 consoles and is available to pre-order.
In June 2007 the PS3 game Resistance: Fall of Man was criticized for the use of Manchester cathedral as one of the games' backdrops. Sony, the publisher of the game, responded by saying "Sony Computer Entertainment Europe is aware of the concerns expressed by the Bishop of Manchester and the cathedral authorities... and we naturally take the concerns very seriously. Resistance: Fall of Man is a fantasy science fiction game and is not based on reality. We believe we have sought and received all permissions necessary for the creation of the game."