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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Lies, damned lies, and statistics: a comparison of the construction of authority and responsibility in two South African cholera epidemics
Author:Van Zyl, KylieISNI
Year:2012
Periodical:South African Historical Journal (ISSN 0258-2473)
Volume:64
Issue:2
Pages:221-235
Language:English
Geographic term:South Africa
Subjects:press
attitudes
political conditions
health policy
cholera
1980-1989
2000-2009
External link:https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/02582473.2011.632432
Abstract:This paper examines cholera-related coverage in two Eastern Cape daily newspapers, the Daily Dispatch and the Eastern Province Herald, to demonstrate how changes in the coverage of two cholera outbreaks between 1980 and 2003 exemplify the political transition in South Africa, reflect the changing political ideologies at work in and on the media. Coverage of the 1980-1983 eastern South African epidemic was compared to coverage of the 2000-2003 Eastern Cape outbreak. The aim was to determine who was most quoted in the coverage and what implications this had for the image of each epidemic as constructed by the newspapers. The analysis reveals that during the 1980s, both newspapers portrayed government-employed medical professionals as the dominant authorities on the epidemic, mostly excluding alternative viewpoints. Coverage was uncritical of the National Party-led government. Conversely, in postapartheid coverage, a range of voices - governmental and civilian - were integrated into articles. Coverage was critical of the ANC-led government, as well as commenting negatively on the post-1994 public healthcare system. The shift from the newspapers' adherence to the official government-derived version of events to their incorporation of a range of viewpoints mirrors the ideological shift from apartheid-era authoritarianism to the more democratic climate post-apartheid. Notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]
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