Jane Duncan Paper prepared for conference entitled ‘Rebuilding Egyptian media for a democratic future’, 30-31 March 2011.

Abstract South Africa's negotiated 'miracle' transition, which undoubtedly saved the country from bloody civil war, has provided a framework for media transformation that has both opened up spaces for media democratisation, while constraining their ability to transform to the extent where they established common public spaces for deliberative debate. South Africa's media transformation, premised as it is largely on the commercial media model with limited public service top-up, has shaped and been shaped by the growing division of South Africa into a two-tier society of 'haves', and 'have-nots', fuelling social instability, especially among the youth. While broadcasting has transformed much more than the print media, owing to the fact that it is state-regulated, the initial promise of the public service broadcaster's transformation has yet to be realised, with a reversion to elements of state broadcasting becoming apparent. The print media have, for various reasons, become the haven for independent, critical, investigative reporting, but are now under attack from the ruling African National Congress (ANC). Media diversity remains limited, owing to inadequate legislative and policy interventions, and the print media remain highly concentrated, and largely white owned. This presentation will trace the roots of this troubling picture back to the nature of South Africa's transition, which fell far short of being a social revolution, making elements of the democratic revolution that were won vulnerable to reversal. Introduction: the nature of South Africa’s transition to democracy The waves of revolution sweeping North Africa have put revolutionary change squarely back onto the global transformation agenda. While they appear to be democratic revolutions in the main, they have the potential to deepen into social revolutions in time. The recent events in North Africa also challenge us to interrogate the adequacy of earlier transformations in other parts of the world, and the extent to which they lived up to their promise of being radical transformations that actually changed social relations. To the extent that they did, they could offer valuable lessons in how to deepen transformation, but to the extent that they did not, then they become historical lessons in how not to repeat earlier mistakes and which blind alleys to avoid. South Africa’s transition to democracy took place when prospects for revolutionary change had waned. The transition was a negotiated one, one of a series of negotiated settlements that took place after the fall of the Berlin wall, as the international balance of forces had swung against liberation movements generally, and armed struggles specifically. This means that South Africa has not experienced, in its true sense, a social revolution; in fact, the transition to democracy even fell short of being a democratic revolution, as negotiations led to a powersharing arrangement that entrenched white privilege in significant ways. While the formal trappings of apartheid have been dismantled, the social relations forged under apartheid


remain largely intact. This has placed significant constraints on transformation in all levels of the social formation, including the media. At the onset of secret talks between the ANC and the National Party Government, the latter attempted to address a mounting crisis internally by liberalising key sectors of the economy and commercialising public services, with the intention of privatising them if the opportunities presented themselves. However, they were unable to retool the economy for global competitiveness owing to the sanctions campaign. At the same time, the mass struggles of the 1980’s had been weakened by repression, leading to a downturn in mass struggle. These factors combined meant that both sides were too weak to achieve their respective objectives without significant concessions from the other side, which triggered a search for a negotiated solution. While the main protagonists clearly had diametrically opposed agendas when entering negotiations, the main outcome for both sides was the stabilisation of the capitalist system and the creation of conditions for its expansion (Alexander 2010: 4). Furthermore, Sampie Terreblance has argued that formal negotiations towards a political solution to the crisis were accompanied by parallel, informal, economic negotiations with corporate South Africa, led by the Anglo-American Corporation. These informal negotiations led to concessions by the ANC on the inevitability of a neoliberal growth path for South Africa, at least for the foreseeable future. This resulted in the ANC conceding a '50 per cent' solution for South Africa's crisis, where the upper 50 per cent of society were incorporated into the economic mainstream, while the lower 50 per cent were confined to its margins, although they were incorporated politically through franchise rights. Economic incorporation, the ANC conceded, would have to be deferred to a later date, and depended on the extent to which growth could be made to trickle down. So, while the ANC achieved political control of South Africa, as formal negotiations strongly favoured the ANC, informal negotiations did not, leading to the corporate sector achieving continued economic control (Terreblanche 2002). The body that drafted the final constitution could not be described as a Constituent Assembly in its proper sense as it was not a sovereign body; its decision-making was circumscribed by thirty-four constitutional principles agreed to during multi-party negotiations, which while entrenching basic principles of liberal democracy and non-racialism, recognised the right of unspecified groups to national self-determination and minority rights (a concession to the white minority), and included a ‘sunset clause’ guaranteeing employment rights of apartheidera public service employees (Schedule Four: 1994). These compromises ensured significant continuities between the apartheid state and the post-apartheid state, with the latter being even more capitalist in certain respects than the former. Concessions that were made by the apartheid state to transformation were necessary tactical adjustments to save the property relations that underpinned apartheid, and restricted the revolution to changes that would take place in any liberal democracy, and even some that would take place in a social democracy (Alexander 2010). Government’s attempt to achieve a form of ‘people’s capitalism’, in the form of black economic empowerment, has benefited a small layer of middle class blacks, while confining working class and unemployed blacks to the margins of society. The government programme of Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) continues a transformation trajectory set in motion under apartheid, where the regime's objective was to create a black bourgeoisie with a stake in the system, and which would act as a buffer against more radical transformation claims (Duncan 2011: Gentle 2006: 129; Alexander 2006; Jansen 2010).


The social consequences of the negotiated transition South Africa’s democracy has been shaped in profound ways by the negotiated transition. Shortly after the adoption of neo-liberal policies in response to a speculative attack on the Rand in the late 1990’s, the Mbeki administration centralised power in the executive arm of government, and reacted with great hostility towards those who he considered his political enemies, either to the left or the right of the political spectrum. Independent social movements were subject to covert and overt forms of repression, with the prohibition of gatherings, coupled with police violence against protests, becoming more widespread (Duncan 2010: 105-127). The very practice of democracy was considered to be deficient, and was described as ‘low intensity democracy’, where ‘the formal requirements of democracy are met, yet under conditions of decreasing competition and declining popular participation’ (Southall 2004: 74-75), a democracy characterised by ‘fragile stability’, where the state is taken as legitimate, but where social problems remain a threat to this stability (Beall, Gelb and Hassim 2005). Furthermore, the extreme mal-distribution of wealth has led to a bifurcated civil society that places significant constraints on the country’s ability to achieve democratic deepening (Heller 2009: 124). But it is on the level of the economy that the contradictions manifest themselves most starkly; contradictions so serious that they have led Moeletsi Mbeki to speculate that South Africa’s ‘Tunisia Day’, where the masses rise up against the powers that be, may be less than a decade away (Mbeki 2011). While there is considerable disagreement in the country about the extent of poverty and inequality, some consensus has emerged that poverty has declined owing mainly to the extensive social safety net rolled out in the early 2000’s; however, 33 per cent of South Africans are still living in poverty. While inter-racial inequality has declined, intraracial inequality has increased (van der Berg 2010). According to the official definition of unemployment, the unemployment rate stands at 24 per cent, but if discouraged work-seekers are taken into account, then the rate stands at 35.8 per cent (Lings 2011). By 2009, youth under the age of 35 constituted 70% of the population, and those under 15, 35% of the population (Statistics South Africa 2009). Nearly 3 million of the 6.7 million young South Africans are disengaged from society's major institutions. They are either unemployed, or not engaged in any education or training activities (Gower 2009). Youth unemployment is almost double that of adult unemployment, with (according to the official definition) 53,4% of all young black Africans between the ages of 15 and 24 being unemployed by the end of 2009: three times worse than the unemployment rate of 14,5% among young white South Africans. In a recent survey by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), South Africa has the worst rate of unemployment for youth between the ages of 15 and 24 among 36 countries surveyed (Creamer 2010). An increasing number of South Africans find themselves caught in a vice, with rising unemployment and the spiralling cost of living. The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) has described the youth unemployed crisis as a ‘ticking time bomb’ (Ensor 2011). Youth discontent has been recognised as a key factor in recent social unrest, and youth have made up a large percentage of those engaged in protest action (Bernstein and Johnston 2007; Gower 2009). In its seventeen years in office, the ANC government has extended many basic services, such as water, electricity and housing to previously underserved areas, but ironically, by extending these basic services, the government has inscribed more South Africans into consumptions


cycles that proving to be increasingly unaffordable: hence the seemingly contradictory phenomenon of increasing service delivery coupled with rising levels of protest. Violence has been used in many of these protests as a means of gaining the attention, as well as in response to state violence and repression, which raises the question of whether South Africa's transition averted violence, or merely deferred it till a later date. As Neville Alexander noted last year, ‘there are few thinking South Africans today who would be prepared to say that they are happy with how things have turned out’ (Alexander 2010: 1). The negotiated settlement and the media The apartheid government encouraged the SABC and other parastatals to commercialise their operations, in response to the intensifying global neo-liberal climate in the early 1990’s. The SABC also embarked on a process of internal restructuring to ‘shift the emphasis from a bureaucratic corporation to an effective, commercialised, market-orientated entity’ that could respond quickly to market opportunities (SABC 1991/2: 10). The apartheid government also set up a task group to enquire into the future of the broadcasting sector. The group came up with two main findings: firstly, that the control of broadcasting should be taken away from the government and handed to an independent regulator; and secondly, that more broadcasters should be allowed to operate. In the dying days of apartheid, the government recognised the benefits of liberalising and privatising broadcasting, as these measures lessened the dangers of their extensive propaganda machine falling into the hands of the ANC. Civil society mobilised to stop the government’s unilateral restructuring of broadcasting, initially through the Campaign for Open Media (COM), formed in 1990 and then through the much larger coalition, the Campaign for Independent Broadcasting (CIB), formed in 1992. The CIB brought together a wide range of non-governmental, political organisations and trade unions across the political spectrum of the liberation movement, with the intention of bringing as much mass pressure to bear on the apartheid government to halt the unilateral restructuring of the SABC, to ensure the appointment of an independent SABC Board before the elections and to ensure the establishment of an independent broadcasting regulator, the Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA). The SABC’s transformation was considered to be most urgent task, as the apartheid government’s control of the broadcaster would have made it practically impossible to hold free and fair elections. The decision to legislate for three tiers of broadcasting had its origins in the early 1990’s, when the liberation movement hastily began to develop policy for broadcasting’s transformation. The Jabulani! Freedom of the Airwaves Conference, held by the ANC and Radio Omroep in Amsterdam in August 1991, and involving a range of civil society organisations, resolved that the broadcasting system should be conceptualised on three levels. Public service broadcasting had to include programming that educates, entertains and informs; had to cater for all tastes and interests; and had to be geographically comprehensive. The public broadcaster would be governed by a Charter that ensured the broadcaster’s accountability to the public, and impartiality and independence from government. Commercial broadcasting would operate for profit by providing advertisers with access to consumers, while community (or participatory) broadcasting would be controlled by communities of interest or geographic communities, to enable them to ‘express their concerns without outside interference’. The Jabulani! conference started from the premise that ‘the public broadcaster should form the core of the broadcasting system and set the standard for all broadcasting’ (Omroep 1991: 67).


The fact that the pro-liberalisation line of thinking of the government coincided with that of the liberation movement paved the way for a consensus on what Robert Horwitz has termed the ‘negotiated liberalisation’ of broadcasting at the multiparty negotiations on broadcasting’s transition (Horwitz 2001). As a result, the CIB was largely successful in achieving its stated objectives. According to the then co-ordinator of COM, Jeanette Minnie, both the ANC and the De Klerk government demonstrated high levels of good faith during the process. The ANC, through its main negotiator, Joel Netshitenzhe, repeatedly sought mandates from the CIB for the negotiations process, leading to an extremely constructive and fruitful working relationship between the two. This relationship continued for two years, but as the negotiations reached a climax in 1993, the ANC negotiators could not afford the time to continue broadcasting negotiations, and insisted that existing agreements must be considered adequate. As a result, some CIB demands, such as provisions for a staff-elected Board member, and mechanisms for public access to the Board, were not considered by negotiators, and did not find their way into the eventual agreements.1 In addition, the apartheid government did not agree to the CIB’s demand for an independent panel to select the Board, but compromised by agreeing to a judicial panel. In spite of the CIB’s reservations, the panel conducted a process that was widely considered to be credible. The CIB also played a key role in organising nominations for the SABC Board, and the selection procedure was impressive in terms of its levels of democratic participation. However, the selection process soured at the last minute, as the then-state President F.W. De Klerk intervened to block the appointment of seven members, leading to some of the others selected resigning in protest. De Klerk also attempted to impose his own chairperson (Frederick van Zyl Slabbert). A compromise board was eventually agreed on, more for reasons of expediency as elections were looming, rather than because any of the parties was necessarily happy with the outcome. The CIB was unable to respond effectively to this crisis, and to the ensuing events at the SABC, as constituent organisations, notably the ANC, stopped attending meetings, which meant that the CIB became demobilised. As a result, it was unable to play a watchdog role as the transformation at the SABC ensued; furthermore, once it was in place, the Board demonstrated no interest in working with civil society.2 The fact that insufficient provision was made for mechanisms of public accountability worked to the new Board’s advantage, as there was little pressure for them to account to the very constituency which brought them to office. The CIB was so tied up with the transformation of the SABC during negotiations, that the drafting of legislation for the IBA was left largely to a technical committee, with an affiliate of the CIB hiring a legal team to draft the Authority’s founding Act. While the lack of political focus on the establishment of the IBA led to some fairly progressive elements creeping in, such as limitations on cross-media ownership and concentration of ownership, compromises also crept in as well. These included the appointment of two co-chairpersons (one ‘old order’ and one ‘new order), as well as a grandfathering clause for the pay television channel M-Net, which was ‘born in sin’ under apartheid (Duncan 2006: 69). The CIB had ensured that internal transformation of the SABC also began to take place even as negotiations ensued, as the intention was to have key elements of transformation in place

Conversation with Jeanette Minnie, 26/03/2011. Conversation with Jeanette Minnie, 26/03/2011.



in time for the 1994 elections. The CIB focussed especially on news, encouraging the replacement of key members of staff and organising a training programme for several print journalists to reskill themselves in broadcast media. Once the Board was in place, they initiated a transformation process in news, which resulted in a transformation plan. The TNP (Television News Productions) transformation process was democratic, arising out of a series of consultative workshops involving over 400 staff members around the country, and led to the dismantling of many of the authoritarian structures and practices in the newsroom (Martinis 2000: 12). The Board also drove transformation in the religious broadcasting department: under the National Party government, the SABC become a mouthpiece of Christian National education, but the Board encouraged a multi-faith approach. The Board also developed strategies to enhance the SABC's educational role. The newly established IBA also played an important role during this period, conducting what was referred to as a Triple Enquiry into the future of public broadcasting, cross media ownership and limitations on foreign ownership. However, many media transformation efforts were undone in 1996, when in response to a speculative attack on the currency, the neoliberal compromise that characterised the informal negotiations reared its head again in the form of the Growth, Employment and Redistribution Programme. In response to its own financial crisis, precipitated largely by the government's decision to sell some of its most profitable stations, the SABC brought in McKinsey and Associates being brought in to advise on rationalisation. The resulting restructuring led to news being identified as the broadcaster’s core business, the dismantling of its programme production capacity, and the reduction of local content levels (with the agreement of the IBA). A third of the broadcaster’ staff was also retrenched. Since then, news has remained at the centre of the broadcaster’s strategy, leading to it becoming over-resourced relative to other aspects of the broadcaster. The government has also never conceded significant institutional funding for the SABC, resulting in public funding accounting for a mere 2 per cent of overall revenue by 2007/8 (Lloyd, Duncan, Minnie, Bussiek 2011). South Africa’s experience with the negotiated transformation of broadcasting raised some important questions for transformations elsewhere. The first question relates to how transitional measures should be handled in situations where illegitimate government still remain in power over the transformation period, and therefore claim the right of final decision-making over the appointment process, as they still remain the executive authority. The second question relates to how to ensure that progressive forces remain mobilised during transformation. Negotiations can be inherently disempowering, as issues are generally resolved in small groups or technical committees. In addition, the ‘transformed’ institution may have no interest in maintaining co-operation with civil society, paving the way for the marginalisation of civil society and reversals of transformation gains. Most of the civil society groups that comprised the SABC also demonstrated high levels of trust in the ANC, which meant that they also dropped their guard once the ANC was in power. This meant that the ANC encountered little resistance when it began to roll back key transformation gains in the media from the late 1990’s onwards. If the transformation processes are going to be deeprooted, then mass organisations need to remain mobilised even after political transformation has taken place, when the real nuts and bolts of institutional transformation take place (FXI 2008: 16). The media transformation status quo


Troublingly, the revival of protest suggests a failing on the part of the media to serve as a channel for the expression of grievance in a manner that forces those in positions of authority to sit up and take note. The project of constituting the post-apartheid media as a common space for deliberative debate appears to be in trouble. South African scholars have disagreed over the extent of media transformation. While significant deracialisation of the media has been achieved (Berger 2001), transformation has been limited by class continuity in ownership, control, content and audiences (Teer-Tomaselli and Tomaselli: 2001; Boloka and Krabill: 2001). South Africa’s media transformation has been premised largely on the commercial model, which has also placed limits on the ability of the media to transform (Duncan 2009a). The distribution of media goods has mapped over onto social and economic divisions, in the process developing the character of a funnel, with more media being clustered further up the funnel, while media access tapers off drastically towards the lower end of the funnel. This means that the distributional rewards of media transformation have been highly unequal. According to the Living Standards Measurement (LSM) from June 2010, LSM 1 and 2, which according to the SA Advertising Research Foundation comprise 9.3% of the population, rely largely on SABC radio. LSM 3 and 4, which comprise 21.7% of the population, rely on SABC radio and television, with some relying on the private television station e.tv (although e.tv’s target market is LSM 5.5). It is only LSM 5 and 6, which comprise 36.1% of the population, that begin to enjoy a range of media products, including SABC, e.tv, daily and weekly newspapers, magazines and outdoor media. LSM 7 and above, which comprise 27.5 per cent of the population, command the lion’s share of media. In fact, most commercial media (including the tabloids) tend not to identify LSM 4 and below, or 36.4 per cent of the population, as being part of their target audiences. While radio tends to have the largest penetration, television and print media (including the tabloids) tend to prioritise LSM 5 and above, which accounts for 69.1 percent of the population (SAARF 2011). While these figures imply a much better picture than the '50 per cent society' scenario of the negotiated settlement, the uneven nature of media transformation was to place significant constraints on the media to develop a common space for deliberative discourse: a constraint that has risked destabilising the whole media system in later years (Duncan 2010). What is not well understood, though is whether the above media consumption patterns apply to the youth, too. The transformation of broadcasting has been much more marked than in the print media, as the former is state regulated. The current communications regulator, the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa), which was formed in 2000 from a merger between the IBA and the telecommunications regulator, the South African Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (Satra), is under a legislative and policy mandate to ensure significant black ownership and control of the sector, as well as ensuring that broadcasting is regulated for fairness and a diversity of views. Since the advent of democracy, the number of television stations has increased from 7 to 100 between 1991 and 2010, and the number of radio stations from 34 to 138. However, reflecting global trends, the number of daily newspapers has declined from 22 to 21 and the number of major weeklies has increased from 25 to 26 (OMD South Africa). Owing to the relatively cheap nature of the medium, diversification efforts in radio have been more successful than in television. In 2001, Robert Horwitz cautioned about the dangers of what he termed a ‘commercialising juggernaut’ eclipsing the public service nature of the South African media system, which he maintained was necessary to redress the legacies of the


country’s apartheid past (Horwitz 2001: 137–177). Horwitz’s prediction was not entirely incorrect, as within television, commercial broadcasting has dominated the three tiers of broadcasting. Community and public service television have become subsidiary elements, with the extent of their survival dependent on their ability to adapt to commercial imperatives. South African television system has become characterised by uneven development, with those who participate in the economic mainstream having access to a plurality of television services and to viewing options that expand all the time as the multichannel environment matures. For them, media reform has been a consumer success, but at the expense of a fragmented share of common viewing experiences. But South Africans who were never in, or who have fallen out of, the economic mainstream, still remain grossly underserved by television (Duncan and Glenn 2010). Some public funding has made available for community and small commercial media through the Media Development and Diversity Agency, or MDDA, after a review conducted by the Government Communication and Information Service (GCIS). Yet the funding that was eventually made available to the MDDA was one sixth of the original budget the government had estimated was needed to make a significant difference to the media landscape, which called into question government’s commitment to achieving this objective (Skinner 2005). Most media continued to rely on commercial sources of funding, which meant that the media’s transformation was heavily tied to the transformation of the economy. Post-apartheid economic restructuring has increased interracial inequality relative to intraracial inequality. The upper class has become deracialised and better off, the semi-professional class, the intermediate class and the core working class have shrunk, but become better off, while the marginal working class are worse off, (Seekings and Natrass 2005: 337). There have also been reversals to the independence of the broadcasting sector, where the ANC government has made repeated attempts to increase the control of the executive arm of government over broadcasting. This trend has been especially apparent in relation to Icasa and the SABC since 1999 (the year Mbeki became South Africa’s president), although these attempts began to unfold two years before Mbeki assumed power, and were to an extent precipitated by the adoption of Gear (Duncan 2008). However, after a brief ‘prague spring’ both for Parliamentary accountability and broadcasting independence, there are no signs that the trends towards reduced independence and accountability is being reversed by Jacob Zuma’s administration. In fact, the ANC under Zuma’s leadership has been particularly hostile towards the print media, which has been accused of a lack of racial transformation, prioritises the worldviews of elite, and is overly concentrated. Lack of transformation on these levels has ostensibly created a mismatch between the values espoused in the media (especially the print media) and the values promoted by the ANC (ANC 2010a). The ANC has also harshly criticised the selfregulatory nature of the press, arguing that the Press Council of South Africa is ‘toothless’ and biased towards the media, and has argued for the establishment of a statutory Media Appeals Tribunal to hear appeals from the Council’s ombudsman. In spite of these pressures, and threats of censorious legislation, such as the Protection of Information Bill, which would effectively criminalise much investigative journalism, journalists still do enjoy considerable autonomy to produce journalism in the classical watchdog mould. Newspapers remain on the cutting edge of investigative journalism, breaking far more major stories than the electronic media. Furthermore, there can be no doubt that the newspaper industry is very different to what it was twenty years ago. Newsrooms are


far more representative of the demographics of the country, as is the content of their newspapers. They are at the cutting edge of investigative journalism, and play a crucial role in holding those in power to account. They contribute in a measurable way to the development of black small business and corporate social responsibility. But from the available content studies, the ANC seems to have put its finger on a problem when it argued that newspaper coverage tends to prioritise the worldviews of those with power and money, who predictably, tend to occupy the centre of the political spectrum. Geographic and linguistic diversity is still sadly lacking. Women still lack a significant voice in the media generally, with a marginal increase in the number of women sources in the past seven years (from 19 to 20 per cent). The fact that newsrooms have more black people and women has not automatically led to a transformation of content on these levels. Since the mid-1990’s, when ownership transformed rapidly, many of the early deals that saw ownership being transferred into black hands, as well as to trade unions and women’s organisations, unwound (Duncan 2000: 34). As a result, black empowerment companies that claimed a stake in the print media pie, such as Kagiso media, Dynamo and New African Investment Limited and New Africa Publishers, withdrew from the newspaper industry, and the print media industry reconsolidated into the four companies (Avusa, Media 24/ Naspers, Independent Newspapers and Caxton). Furthermore, the empowerment credentials of the four largest groups, measured by scorecards implemented in conformity with the B-BBEE Act, are relatively weak, with most groups (with the exception of Avusa) underperforming on their scorecards. The ownership profile of the industry is particularly patchy, with two of the four groups (Caxton and Independent Newspapers) being entirely white-owned (the latter by virtue of being foreign owned), making the industry vulnerable to attack for lack of transformation. Concentration of ownership is a legitimate concern, especially the dominance of the newspaper market by Media 24 (which commands 39 per cent of total circulation), whose parent company Naspers is also becoming increasingly powerful in other emerging markets. Concentration of ownership is of particular concern in the current recessionary climate, as the major groups exploit content to the hilt to maximise revenue, impacting negatively on news diversity; so, the more concentrated the market, the more homogenous the news. More fundamentally, the transformation that has taken place has not resulted in a diversity of forms of journalism, or even media models. The professional model of journalism and the commercial model of media remain the dominant models of media production, even in the community media sector (Duncan 2011). The overly concentrated nature of the print media has also disadvantaged small media, as the big groups enjoy competitive advantages over smaller, independent media, and the larger the big groups, the more difficult it is for the smaller groups to survive. There is evidence that small commercial and community newspapers, which should give a voice to the poorest and most marginalised sections of society, are in deep trouble. According to the Association of Independent Newspapers (AIP), an audit of its membership revealed a 51 per cent decline in membership between 2008 and 2010 (Sanglay 2010: 3). The ANC has argued for competition policy to apply to the print media to limit anti-competitive behaviour against small media, but the competition authorities have not proved to be sufficiently sensitive to the peculiar dynamics of the sector. Given the inadequacy of general competition rules, several countries are developing media-specific diversity of voices tests, or diversity points systems. France has legislated ownership limitations for the print media. Foreign ownership caps are also being


debated. Since the establishment of the MDDA though, South Africa has fallen behind the international curve in crafting similar diversification tools, and the ANC’s media policy is silent on them too. The combined effect of the underfunding of the MDDA, the lack of policy to measure diversity and limit excessive media concentration, the shortcomings of the Competition Authorities in addressing diversity questions and the reduction of transformation to B-BBEEdriven de-racialisation, is that the environment has, by default, favoured media concentration. It has also led to the destruction of much of the independent, small commercial and community media, and opened the newspaper industry up to political attack. All these development have taken place on the ANC’s watch (Duncan 2011). Conclusion The dominant narrative about the South African media negotiations is that they were overwhelmingly successful, and that much of this success could be attributed to the strength of civil society and the trade union movement. It can therefore be inferred from this narrative that the most recent setbacks to media freedom are deviations from this positive process. Rarely are these setbacks understood as outcomes of negotiations too. The formal negotiations delivered a much more independent and representative Board, which in turn resulted in a greatly transformed SABC, especially in the early years of democracy. They delivered an independent regulator with powers to make policy on key issues, which legislated three tiers of broadcasting into being, ending the era of complete state control of broadcasting. The negotiations were silent, however, on the economic transformation of broadcasting as well as on the transformation of the print media. This meant that agreements arrived at on the shape of the economy (the neoliberal '50 per cent solution') undergirded media transformation, and become the de-facto framework within which media transformation was pursued. Granted, the ANC in its media policy has committed itself to media freedom and diversity. In its 2002 policy, the ANC even committed itself to establishing a publicly funded, inclusive media system, aimed at bringing the voices of the poor and marginalised, especially workers, the unemployed, women and the rural poor, into the mainstream of public debate. But in its everyday practice, the ANC is attempting to erode media freedom in significant ways, and has failed to legislate adequately for media diversity. While the SABC is formally independent, the dominant faction in the ANC exerts noticeable influence on the broadcaster. Independent, investigative journalism has become largely the preserve of the newspaper industry, but because it has shaped by market forces, with virtually no state intervention to ensure diversity, sections of the industry remain white owned and controlled, which has made the industry vulnerable to attack for lack of transformation. This vulnerability is working to the ANC's advantage, as it can now justify greater state control of the industry. The South African media’s ‘tilt upwards’ has serious implications, as it fosters a society that is unable to see itself. Such a society will battle to understand fully the long term implication of continuing poverty combined with growing inequality, especially among the youth. Dualistic media systems are inherently unstable, and may precipitate progressive claims by those who feel that they have not benefited from media transformation, for greater media access, or conservative claims for greater state control of the media. South Africa may move in either direction, as elements of both are evident in South Africa's media system (Duncan 2011).


South Africa's experiences of a negotiated transformation of media teaches us the simple lesson that media transformation is ultimately not sustainable without social transformation. Media transformation projects that are depoliticised, and reduced to technicist, formulaic processes of finding the right laws and policies, may well land up being overtaken in time by the politics of the street. In fact, their long term sustainability will probably come to depend on the politics of the street.


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