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The struggle for press self-regulation in contemporary South Africa: charting a - page 30 / 51





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Keywords: media, accountability, access to information, media concentration, transparency, Latin America, watchdog

The Politics of Media Accountability in Africa

An Examination of Mechanisms and Institutions

Wisdom J. Tettey

Faculty of Communication and Culture, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB, Canada T2N 1N4. tettey@ucalgary.ca

The media have had a positive impact on democratization in Africa as conduits for political education, watchdogs of political accountability and forums for civic engagement. These developments notwithstanding, some critics characterize the media less sanguinely, highlighting attitudes that portray them as irresponsible, self-serving, unaccountable and a threat to the credibility and sustenance of the democratic process. In the context of the foregoing, this article evaluates various mechanisms of media accountability in Africa, and concludes that they are fraught with tensions among various political interests. It argues that state-controlled mechanisms of accountability are not always conducive to democracy, because they could be subject to abuse. There is, therefore, the need for the media themselves to put in place procedures and demonstrate attitudes and levels of performance that ensure the highest standards of professionalism and levels of probity and accountability.

Key Words: accountability • Africa • ethics • good governance • media • media commissions • regulatory bodies

International Communication Gazette, Vol. 68, No. 3, 229-248 (2006) DOI: 10.1177/1748048506063763

Accountability of Media to Society

Principles and Means

Denis McQuail

Developments in technology, deregulation and increased commercialization have combined to pose a threat to established ways of relating the activities and aspirations of mass media to the `needs of society'. At the core of the problem is the dilemma of reconciling media freedom with legitimate claims and expectations from private and public interests, under fundamentally changing conditions. This article considers some basic principles of the accountability process, reviews the means available for achieving accountability and proposes some general guidelines for future policy and practice.

Key Words: accountability • broadcasting • policy • public interest • responsib

The Role of Press Councils in a System of Media Accountability: The Case of Quebec

David Pritchard (School of Journalism, Indiana University)

Abstract: This paper analyzes the Quebec Press Council as a mechanism for media accountability and traces its effectiveness as a forum for complaints about media ethics. Data come from the QPC's 800 case files and from a series of interviews.

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