Between a rock and a hard place? the factors enabling and constraining the role of print media in democratisation in Mozambique and South Africa

Van Tonder, Tamsin
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Abstract This study is based on the premise that the media, as one of the primary disseminators of information in a society, is critical to the development and sustenance of democracy. Following on from this, it then becomes necessary to examine the factors that have an influence on the level of freedom the media enjoys, thereby impacting on the level to which the media can contribute to democratisation. Using theories of critical political economy of the media and media and democracy in Africa, the impact of factors such as ownership, the market, legislation and government on the print media in Mozambique and South Africa are examined in this dissertation. In order to conduct this research, a qualitative methodological framework, including interviews and document analysis, was employed. Based on the analysis of the above factors in this dissertation, this study concludes that the media in Mozambique and South Africa are constrained on two fronts: first, by the limitations imposed by the free market economies in which they operate; and second, by the sometimes oppressive governments and restrictive legislation to which they are subject.