Tuesday, July 1, 2008

About Quid Pro Quo


Few countries have experienced such dramatic change as South Africa has. The end of apartheid heralded a new era, enshrining non-racialism, universal sufferage and freedom of expression in a progressive constitution that today enjoys widespread popular legitimacy. However, despite the achievements of 1994, the dominant party system of ANC rule has in recent years become prone to instances of 'democratic slippage'. A fragile criminal justice system, searing socio-economic inequalities, and the blurring of party and state lines by a ruling elite increasingly distracted from the task of rule; these are symptoms of an incomplete society still struggling to define itself.

The national discourse of the SA polity is greatly influenced by the media. If "the price of liberty is eternal vigilance" then the media in SA is responsible for providing the sensory organs with which citizens can exercise that vigilance. In order to properly interrogate those in power we need robust media institutions that are independent and self-regulated and accountable to the people who consume their produce on a daily basis.

Quid Pro Quo occupies the space where politics and the media intersect. It is a hallmark of democratic life that politicians and journalists are locked in a continuing struggle for hegemony and influence. But this relationship is also one of accommodation and consent, and this blog seeks to record the interaction between these two spheres through, inter alia, book reviews, letters, articles of social commentary and citizen reporting.

1 comment:

  1. This used to be the whole schpiel I had on the right hand margin of QPQ. I felt it was getting in the way, so I moved it to a permanent post.