|dc.description.abstract||This study investigated by means of a qualitative textual analysis the SABC's treatment of extra-parliamentary opposition to the tricameral Parliament between 1983-1990. The following research question was posed: taking into consideration a changing political environment, how did the SABC as the national broadcaster address the legitimacy of extra-parliamentary resistance in its policy, structure, routines and editorial opinion? The study contended that the SABC delegjtimized this resistance by a combination of the following: subscribing in its policy and editorial opinion to the Government's stated policy that group rights had to be protected in any constitutional dispensation, rejecting extra-parliamentary opposition as a legitimate contender for political power in its policy and editorial opinion; assenting to the Government's insistence that media had to adapt their journalistic practices to consensus politics, and modifying organisational structures and journalistic routines whereby the SABC committed itself to consensus journalism which included support for the dominant ideology and the denial of a platform for extra-parliamentary groups to express their ideas.
Theoretically, the study advanced from Gramsci's (1982) hegemonic viewpoint that consent for relationships of dominance and subordinance in society should be negotiated. This means that the dominant ideology or culture that predominates in a society at any given point is the consequence and concretisation of hegemony, that is the consent by subaltern groups of the ideas, values and leadership of the ruling group. Hegemony in actual societies is achieved by a combination of coercion and consent, and integral hegemony applies to a situation where the accomplishment of consensual control over subaltern classes requires minimum coercion. Hegemony, however, is based upon compromises by the ruling group that do not threaten the comprehensive framework of domination. Hegemony, according to Gramsci, proceeds from the doings of institutions in civil society that are responsible for the production, reproduction, dissemination and transformation of popular culture and ideology. These institutions include the mass media, and this study maintained that the SABC performed a hegemonic function by producing and reproducing culture and ideology to secure consent for (a) the dominant ideological principle based on the centrality of
racially based groups, and (b) the rejection of counter hegemonic forces as deviant and
illegitimate contenders for political power.
In terms of its effort to secure consent for the acceptance of group rights, the SABC accentuated the organic function of the group in society, promoted the Government's reform programme, rationalised stale mates in the negotiation process, and motivated the use of repression as necessary for evolutionary and peaceful reform. The SABC used a variety of methods and techniques in its editorial programme (Comment) to present extra-parliamentary resistance as marginal. These included stating the support of extra-parliamentary groups in minimal terms, ascribing their support to intimidation and deception, and stressing their reliance on external sources for financial and material support. The SABC also emphasized internal dissension in the ranks of extra-parliamentary groups, rejected the authenticity and popularity of its leaders, presented them as elite removed from the suffering of ordinary Blacks, and marginalized extra-parliamentary groups as illegitimate side-shows opposed to legitimate parliamentary parties in the political mainstream. They were associated with extremist groups such as the IRA and the PLO, excluded as legitimate participants in the negotiation process, evaluated as the pursuers of barbaric and heinous methods, and awarded the characteristics of being internally torn apart, ineffective, undisciplined and out of step with developments in South Africa and the rest of the world. Extra-parliamentary groups were trivialized by using sarcastic language, quotation marks and a sneer phrase such as "so called". Five conceptual categories of marginalization (support, leadership, place in the political stream, evaluation, and achievement) and 21 indicators or sub-categories of marginalization were identified.
In addition to a textual analysis of the SABC's editorial opinion, this study also investigated how the Broadcaster treated the dominant ideology and extra-parliamentary resistance in its policy codes and policy interpretations. This complemented an investigation into the creation of organizational structures and the enforcement of gatekeeping practices as part of the SABC's commitment to consensus journalism. Liaison with the security establishment, the centralization of public affairs programmes, the use of religion, and special directives for the treatment of unrest were, amongst others, highlighted in this regard.||