The Roots of the Conflict

  • William A. Hachten
  • C. Anthony Giffard
  • Harva Hachten


As immediate as are the tragic difficulties facing the diverse peoples and the press of South Africa, it is important to realize that the causes are embedded in South African history. The further one goes back in South African press history, the clearer it becomes that little has changed. From the earliest days of the colonial press, newspapers in South Africa have been identified with one or other of the dominant white language groups, with their very different cultures, political philosophies, and economic interests. They have reflected, and been a part of, the struggle for power between these groups. No matter what government happened to be in power at any given time, one section felt it was not represented, and expressed its opposition vociferously through its newspapers. The continuing gulf between the population groups has meant that the country’s newspapers have never outgrown the stage of a highly partisan press. (The black press—newspapers and other publications primarily intended for the African, coloured, and Asian communities—developed along such different lines that its historical background will be considered in Chap. 6, Suppression of the Black Press.) So conflict between the government of the day and the newspapers has been inevitable.


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Copyright information

© The Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • William A. Hachten
  • C. Anthony Giffard
  • Harva Hachten

There are no affiliations available

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