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Making Popular Participation Real

African and International Experiences

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Edited By György Széll and Dasarath Chetty

The onset of democracy in South Africa provided South Africans with the opportunity to build a truly democratic, non-racial, non-sexist society in which there would be opportunity for all to make material, social and intellectual progress. This vision was enshrined in a Constitution intent on deepening democracy by treating people with dignity and ensuring that democratic participation was not restricted to a trip to the voting booth once every five years. To give democracy real meaning, the Constitution declared that municipalities, in particular, must facilitate public participation for true legitimacy in its development endeavours. Various mechanisms have been put in place to achieve this objective, but the process has not been without its impediments and difficulties. This book reviews the context, approaches and challenges to the public participation process using international comparisons.

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A Peace Journalism Approach to Societal Violence with Reference to Service Delivery Protests in South Africa

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Joseph Olusegun Adebayo and Dasarath Chetty

Abstract: Recent service delivery protests in South Africa have had a tendency to snowball into violence. The South African media, in a bid to report service delivery protests, often inadvertently incites communities against the government; through an ‘us and them’ style of reportage capable of inciting further violence. This is evidenced by prejudiced information often being presented as objective news, features, commentaries and documentaries. This problem is the major motivation behind this article, which advocates the application of a Peace Journalism approach to service delivery protests so as to contribute to societal peace and harmony whilst not sacrificing accuracy. This article holds theoretical and practical significance in that it explicitly identifies conditions that encourage journalists to apply conflict-sensitivity to their reportage, thereby promoting societal peace, particularly during social protests. The approach offers a unifying multi-dimensional, conceptual framework which can be used to analyse and discuss the role journalists play in ensuring peaceful protests and nation-building; and demonstrates that they do have a constructive part to play when covering sensitive social issues.

The Peace Journalism model, developed by Jake Lynch and Annabel McGoldrick (2005), encourages journalists to report social issues in ways that create opportunities for society to consider and value non-violent responses to conflict by using the insights from conflict analysis and transformation to update concepts of balance, fairness and accuracy in reporting. It also provides a new route map, which traces the connections between journalists, their sources, the stories...

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