Media Diversity in South Africa: New concepts from the global South
Keywords:South Africa, media usage, Consumer studies, Communication, Post-apartheid South Africaa, Media policy, marginalised citizens, radio, television
This timely book argues that the Global North’s research methods and traditional assumptions are not valid to the media landscapes and audiences of the Global South. With South Africa as the focus, the authors offer a new understanding of media diversity along an audience-centred approach.
Yet research shows that most South African citizens (most of whom are economically marginalised) are found to experience extremely low levels of media content diversity in their personal media diets. The contributing factors are inter-related and complex, but include the inequitable distribution of media content, a lack of African language media, and most especially, the cost of media access which is unaffordable to many. In this book, the authors examine what went wrong with post-apartheid attempts to democratise the media landscape, and why the experienced levels of media diversity by the majority South African audience remain so woefully low. While media diversity is usually measured by policymakers, sector stakeholders or by market-related imperatives, this book foregrounds the perspective of the media consumer. In doing so, traditional media measuring is inverted – leading to a more in-depth understanding of how ordinary people in the Global South receive media content, how much, and why.
The authors offer a wholistic analysis of the ineffectuality of key media policymaking processes, projects and institutions – while also suggesting how these could be transformed to create a more diverse and broadly accessible media landscape.