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Mandi Makhanya, political ed, Sunday Times, Jo'burg
"I would not categorise the South African media as particularly racist"
 real 28k

Thursday, 24 August, 2000, 11:02 GMT 12:02 UK
Racism 'pervasive' in SA media

By Greg Barrow in Johannesburg

The South African Human Rights Commission has issued a report recommending large-scale reforms to address racism in the media.

The report is the culmination of a highly controversial two-year investigation into allegations of racism in the South African media which polarised views between black and white journalists.

The Human Rights Commission has concluded that many newspapers and broadcasters in South Africa can be characterised as racist institutions and measures should be taken to address the problem.

The South African Human Rights Commission says it has found that racism continues to pervade both the style of reporting and attitudes within newspapers and broadcasting companies.

Training

The Commission says there is both subliminal and direct racism and it is urging media institutions to act to address the problem.

Thabo Mbeki
President Thabo Mbeki says racism is still rife in South Africa
It says journalists should take part in racism awareness courses.

It also highlights the fact that many newspapers and broadcasters still employ mainly white staff and more effort should be made to train journalists from the black majority.

Human Rights commissioner Jody Kollapen says he is hopeful that newspaper editors and media owners will take heed of the report's findings.

"It certainly is not a case of the Human Rights Commission wielding a big stick," he said..

"We are willing to assist you and we think, we hope that the report is then received and implemented almost in that spirit."

White control

Many black editors believe transformation is slow because the media is still controlled by whites and caters mainly for white interests.

But their white counterparts argue that their publications do reflect the true diversity of South African society.

The commission hopes this difference of opinion can be bridged if there is a national effort to raise sensitivities about racial issues in the media.

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See also:

26 Jan 00 | Africa
South Africa bans discrimination
14 Feb 00 | Africa
SA editors face racism questions
13 Mar 00 | African
Are South Africa's media racist?
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