Ethics in Reporting: Globalization and Media

The roles of the media during apartheid South Africa

The mainstream media in South Africa during the apartheid regime was predominantly a white dominion. For the better part of this period, media overage split within ideological lines with the mainstream English service being pro-government while the Afrikaner nationalistic press tended to capture the aspirations of the blacks (Wasserman & Beer, 2009). Many different media platforms were ranging from print to broadcast although the government had much control over media freedoms. The broadcast section, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, was exclusively under the control of the apartheid regime. Moreover, the African nationalists had their splinter broadcast mediums, but as Wasserman and Beer (2009) argues, they were limited in their operations since all that they were to air or broadcast passed through rigorous censorship.

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The nationalistic media was constantly under threat, and on many occasions, the apartheid regime stormed most of them whenever it felt insecure by what they aired in print or broadcast media. While the state-controlled media sought to extend the hegemony of apartheid, the nationalistic media sought to enlighten the masses of the injustice under the apartheid regime (Wasserman & Beer, 2009). The nationalistic media called on the African population to reject the apartheid regime terming it illegal and a farce on the black African populations. Additionally, the African nationalist media sought to champion the active black African population to active participation in the concept of internal self-governance. While the state-owned media sought to protect the legacy of the apartheid regime, the nationalistic media sought to champion the masses to reject the status quo and be ready to fight and shape their destiny under internal self-governance devoid of foreign interference. In its urge to limit the operations of the apartheid regime, the nationalistic media sought sanctions against apartheid protectorate to enable the blacks to unleash their full potentials under nationalistic spirit.

The difference between public and national interest

Within the domains of reporting, both reporters and politicians have used public and national reporting terms interchangeably to the point of being misconstrued to mean the same thing (Wasserman & Beer, 2009). Throughout the history of reporting, the treatment of news items that fall within the framework of national interests has been used preferably to denote all that appertains to support the opinions or interests of nationalists and politicians in governmental positions. Markedly, public interest explores the news items that determine the greater common good of people within the media coverage. Also, public interest examines the common standards that give reporters insights into weighing news items that must go to the press. These aspects explore a clear standard to gauge the news items that fall under the premises of national or public interest. Therefore, the understanding of the concept of national interest is separate from that of public interest in that national interest secures the aspirations of those in power while public interest secures the aspirations of the public. Notably, state media will always secure the interest of the state as seen in the apartheid regime in South Africa.

The framing metaphors: Their significance and what Lule’s findings reveal concerning the role of the media

In moments of crisis, metaphors become very useful elements of reporting. Lule examined the use of metaphors within the domains of reporting and the factors inherent in metaphoric expressions. Lule (2009) uncovered the language of metaphor as a series of breaches of media ethics that may inspire the violation and victimization of the public. The use of metaphors can equally plague the efficacy of the media, and even cause the dissolution of trust in society. Lule (2009) reveals that the use of metaphors in the 2003 Iraq war was not because of the presence of the language that sought to achieve its aims, but because of the society’s moral illness. Media houses, especially the NBC Nightly News reported the war as an act of disarming Saddam and Iraq. This was meant to make the public believe that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, hence the need to support the whole ordeal. While the fight against Saddam Hussein’s aggression and the dictatorial rule was a US affair, George Bush Jr. manipulated the media using various metaphors to achieve rapid change, thus aggravating the process. In most cases, the independent media, according to Lule (2009), used metaphors and coded language to inspire the whole world to rally behind the US in eliminating Saddam Hussein.

The roles of the media in independent South Africa under democracy

The 1994 independent elections in South Africa ushered in a new dispensation of freedom and transparency giving much democratic space to a media that was highly restricted in its operations. Besides, the promulgation of a new constitution in 1996 further fortified media freedoms by recognizing their proximity to the process of democratization in South Africa (Wasserman & Beer, 2009). With these developments, the media in South Africa continued to seek greater freedoms of expression. Notably, in using this approach, the media in post-apartheid South Africa sought to champion human dignity. In the years following this development, the media sought to enlighten the masses to seek greater participation in nation-building to transform their lives. Apart from seeking to secure human dignity, the media in post-independent South Africa sought to roll out a healing process by championing the aspirations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) to build a stronger, united, and prosperous South African society (Wasserman & Beer, 2009). Much of what the independent media sought was for the greater common good always seeking to protect the public and national interest in the concept of responsible reporting. With the new democratic landscape, the independent media found it necessary to strengthen liberty in the nation – the rights to freedoms of expression, association, as well as the rights to unrestricted access to information in a society tolerant to media freedoms.

Killing Stories-and Journalism, a glimpse into Lule’s interrogation

In his article, “Media and political globalization: Killing stories – and journalists,” Lule (2011) introduced the globalization model and politicization of the media. The author discusses the manufacturing consent and its effects on journalists and their stories. He gives an instance of the relation between news and foreign policies, as well as who is influential in these machinations. In going about their business, the author laments that journalists have been subjected to vicious and intense intimidation as various players in the globalization quest contest for supremacy in the globalized war. Lule (2011) observes that working as a media professional continues to get increasingly dangerous as many players in the process of globalization continue to view the media as an obstacle. With its role as a watchdog in society, media practitioners are subject to many pressures and manipulations to serve the interests of the players in the concept of globalization. Of much worry in these developments is the propagation of propaganda politics, which has continued to retard the operations of the media in many parts of the world (Lule, 2011).

With this upsurge in protecting the aspirations of a few, the economic, political, social, and personal pressures continue to rebuff the free operations of the media. Moreover, Lule’s inquiry traces a route by which power and influence from governments and dominant private interests shape the wave of globalization (Lule, 2011). The domination of the media by the elite and its marginalization of dissidents emanates from the need to protect a few interests in the globalized society. Within these machinations, the media passes under numerous filters subjected to all that must go for public consumption. Within the limits comes constraints that are often very objective and powerful (Lule, 2011). Most of these limits thrive in a system where the fundamental privileges of the media are under severe prejudice. With the powers that might be, the alternative foundations of media interests and choices are hardly possible. In assessing the inquiry proposed by Lule regarding the 2003 Iraqi War, the author claims a governmental proclivity in manipulating the news and the general interference with media operations in global affairs. The inclination by the US government to impose its agenda and deliberately divert the world’s attention from other content is a restriction to media freedom. Lule (2011) regrets the role played by the media regarding the Iraqi War in 2003 and goes ahead to lament that the media did not stop to ponder the bias that was inherent in the prioritizing the US government agenda in the months preceding the Iraq conflict. Lule contends that the new media carries a lot of hope in revitalizing the mainstream media although it too may fall prey and play into the very hands that have manipulated traditional media over the years.

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In retrospect, ethics in reporting tends to distance itself from the manipulation of the media, which advocates for a well-organized and political dichotomization in media reportage as purely established on the serviceability to local powers that might exist. Notably, such balkanization in media coverage is massive in the progressive degradation of media freedoms. Not only are the balkanization of media comprehensible, especially about system advantage, but the modes of handling the favored and somewhat inconvenient content with their fullness, placement, flair, and context also persuades the powers that might be to stem media operations to serve political ends.


Lule, J. (2011). Media and political globalization: Killing stories – and journalists. In Globalization and media: Global village of Babel. Lanham, Md: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.

Wasserman, H. & Beer, A. (2009). Conflict of interest? Debating the media’s role in post-apartheid South Africa. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

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StudyCorgi. "Ethics in Reporting: Globalization and Media." January 30, 2021.


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StudyCorgi. (2021) 'Ethics in Reporting: Globalization and Media'. 30 January.

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