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To research how audiences interpreted the image of offense in the South African media, we conducted a series of interviews every bit good as we administrated questionnaires to our sample. Our sample derived from first twelvemonth pupils in criminology at the University of Kwazulu Natal. In the sum of 40 participants ; we chose 10 Africans, 10 coloureds, 10 Indians every bit good as 10 Whites. The ground why we put all race group in the sample it is because we want to hold a balanced thought on how different race in South Africa think about how the media represent offense.

The content analysis of replies from people who participated as sample in the research was to understand major discourse in the representation of offense in the South African media from different positions. Specifically our analysis used the changeless comparative method amongst different races. We analyzed the informations through a elaborate apprehension of our research aims.

Although we agree that image of offense disseminated by the media are strikingly consistent, we must press cautiousness in generalising our findings to other topographic points in South Africa. Because our analysis is restricted merely to a group of first twelvemonth pupils at the University of Kwazulu Natal. We can non presume that our findings would be replicated in other countries. Furthermore, we have no information with which to entree the generalizability of our consequences to other topographic points in South Africa.


We have collected a volume of informations about content of media representations of image of offense in South Africa. We are merely able to show a choice of our chief findings here related to the aim of our research.

The first subdivision of the questionnaire referred to the background or biographical information of participants. This information helps us to compare racial groups understanding sing the representation of offense in the South African media. Based on racial group, we discover that there is some differences on the manner Africans, coloureds, Indians and Whites understand the representation of the image of offense in the media.

For the apprehension about which signifier of the media my sample usage to maintain up-to day of the month with current personal businesss and be informed about current or past issues on offense:

80 % of Africans use telecasting as the first beginning of information, 90 % usage wireless as beginning of updating with intelligence, 30 % usage cyberspace and besides 10 % usage intelligence documents.


90 % of coloured usage telecasting as beginning of information, 40 % of them use wireless, 40 % usage cyberspace and 20 % usage intelligence documents as beginning to maintain up to day of the month with current personal businesss.


100 % of Indians use telecasting like the first beginning of information, 80 % of them use wireless as beginning of updating them about current personal businesss, and 30 % of them rely on cyberspace and intelligence paper.

American indians

100 % of Whites use telecasting as beginning of information, 70 % of them use wireless as beginning of information, 95 % usage cyberspace as signifier of media to maintain them update with information and 80 % usage intelligence documents.

White persons

The consequence indicate that telecasting seems to be the chief home base signifier that keep updating people sing the issue of offense in South Africa, following by wireless, cyberspace and News Paper.

By analysing the representation of offense in South African media, 85 % of participant agree that South African media exaggerate the manner it represent offense, 10 % of participant disagree and 5 % of them are impersonal.

The consequence shows that media do non give an accurate representation of offense. It overstates offense coverage. And this affect people attitude or concern toward offense job in South Africa. 90 % of participants agree that their attitudes towards offense are affected by the manner media exaggerate the representation of offense, 7 % of participants are impersonal and merely 3 % disagree. This findings indicate that the manner the media represent offense create fright in the population. The bulk of respondents are more likely to be fearful of offense based on the manner the media represent it.

Sing which sort of offenses are most reported in the South African media, the consequences indicate that 75 % of offenses reported are violent offenses ( slaying, colza, assault, aˆ¦ ) and merely 25 % are non violent offense such as corruptness and fraud.

Harmonizing to the participants, the media put more attending to violent offense in South Africa because that sort of offense happens frequently in the day-to-day life of citizen. And besides because of the state has the repute as a violent offense capital of the universe. Violent offenses are easy for media newsmans to hold entree to information comparison to non violent offense such as white colour offense or fraud.

Sing the representation of offense in the new Democratic South Africa ; the bulk of participants, 87 % of them, argue that today`s media are more interesting in describing offense more than it was during the apartheid period. 10 % of them differ and merely 3 % gave a impersonal place. During the interview one of participant argue that one of the large grounds why the media focus more on describing offense today is because of the freedom of imperativeness that the new South African fundamental law grant to the media. During apartheid country, media were controlled by the province and it was hard for it to describe any intelligence. Participants went farther by declaring that South African media represent a certain racial group as more possible felons so other. Africans are represented more felons in the media more than other races, following by couloureds people, Indians and Whites population:

At the same clip, our research shows that some media represent black people as more victims of offense in South Africa, following by Whites, couloureds and Indians. Harmonizing to participants, black South Africans are much more likely to be victims of offense because most of them are non able to afford the protections and security steps and besides the bulk of black South Africans live in the countries where there are high degrees of condemnable activities.

On the inquiry mentioning on if offense narratives are told in a balanced manner with all points of position represented, the bulk of respondents indicate that offense narratives are non told in a balance manner. 82 % of respondents argue that when the media cover a offense for illustration committed by a black individual to a white individual or frailty versa, the media ever exaggerated by describing such offense. However if the same offense involves two people of the same race, the media coverage does non put it on midst by exposing it.


This survey reveals that regular viewing audiences of offense shows are more likely to fear offense.

Although statistically important, the strength of this determination is minimum. In add-on, there are a

few restrictions with respect to the steps of media ingestion. First, the type of offense show

that the respondent is sing is unknown. There are legion types of offense shows that may

focal point on different facets of the condemnable justness system. For illustration, offense shows may concentrate on

constabularies, tribunals, private research workers, defence attorneies and sometimes even the felons. In

add-on, some shows are more realistic, while others routinely portray force, and systematically

misinform viewing audiences about the nature of the condemnable justness system and criminalism. It would be

prudent to cognize which dramas the respondents are sing. Second, using telecasting hours

watched is debatable, since there is no manner of finding what type of plans the

respondent is sing. There are a figure of different plans that may or may non turn to

condemnable justness issues and turn to them in well different ways. Finally, analyzing

newspapers as the primary beginning of offense intelligence suggests that merely newspapers influence

respondents. It would be naif to propose that respondents are non affected by a figure of

beginnings ; for illustration, respondents who receive their primary offense intelligence from newspapers may

besides be affected by presentations of offense from other beginnings such as movies, telecasting and/or

personal experiences.

Fear of Crime

Despite these restrictions, there are some interesting consequences sing fright of offense and

perceived constabulary effectivity. Even when commanding for a figure of factors, sing offense

shows is weakly related to fear of offense. Fear of offense may be “ natural ” reactions to the

force, ferociousness, and “ unfairness ” that are broadcast to populating suites on a day-to-day footing. Crimes on

telecasting shows and movies reveal several tendencies. There is an overemphasis on offenses of force

and wrongdoers are frequently portrayed in stereotyped ways. For illustration, slaying and robbery

dominate while belongings offenses are seldom presented ( Surette, 1998 ) . Wrongdoers are frequently viewed

as sociopaths that prey on weak and vulnerable victims. In other instances wrongdoers are portrayed

as business communities or professionals that are astute, ruthless, and violent. Television offense is

exciting and a rewarding enterprise, whereas victims are inactive, incapacitated and vulnerable

( Surette, 1998 ) .

Many viewing audiences may non understand the justness procedure and are improbable to understand

motives and causes of condemnable behaviour. The condemnable justness system is portrayed as mostly

uneffective, with the exclusion of a few “ heroes ” that provide justness or in some instances retribution

towards wrongdoers ( Surette, 1998 ) . Crime shows seldom focus on extenuating issues of condemnable

behaviour and are improbable to portray wrongdoers in a sympathetic or even realistic manner. On

telecasting, offense is freely chosen and based on single jobs of the wrongdoer. Analysis of

offense play reveal that greed, retaliation and mental unwellness are the basic motives for offense

and wrongdoers are frequently portrayed as “ different ” from the general population ( Lichter and Lichter,

1983 ; Maguire, 1988 ) Therefore, viewing audiences may believe that all wrongdoers are “ monsters ” to be feared.

Consequently, heavy viewing audiences may comprehend offense as threatening, wrongdoers as violent, brutal or

ruthless and victims as helpless. These inaccurate presentations, every bit good as the portraiture of offense

as inevitable/non-preventable may take to an addition in the fright of offense. However, the

relationship between fright of offense and offense show screening is statistically weak. As a consequence, it is

of import for future research to analyze the relationship by using triangulated schemes

such as content analysis, experimental and study research designs.

Police Effectiveness

The consequences indicate that perceptual experience of constabulary effectivity is non related to media

ingestion. However, African-Americans and respondents who report a high figure of

jobs in their vicinity are more likely to give negative ratings of constabulary

effectivity. Therefore, direct experience may act upon the respondents ‘ attitudes toward

offense jobs and constabularies response in the vicinity. Future research should analyze how

the media influences these attitudes. The media may bring forth “ feelings ” that local vicinities

are “ job filled ” or unsafe. For case, local intelligence broadcasts may concentrate on extremely

sensational, violent and upseting offense that occurs in the vicinity. It may be possible that

media presentation will impact attitudes toward the vicinity.

In this sample, African-Americans are more likely to give hapless evaluations of constabulary

effectivity. However, it is ill-defined as to why or how African-Americans addition these positions. It is

by and large assumed that these positions are the consequence of favoritism. Direct experience aside, the

mass media may play a function in Afro-american attitudes toward constabulary effectivity. Future

surveies should analyze how the media portraiture of the condemnable justness system affects African American attitudes toward constabulary. The media may hold a strong consequence on Afro-american

condemnable justness attitudes.

In decision, it is speculated that the bulk of the populace ‘s cognition about offense

and justness is formed through media ingestion. As a consequence, it is imperative that we understand

how the media influences public attitudes. Although there are restrictions within the information set and

the findings are weak, regular screening of offense shows is related to fear of offense. However,

offense show screening is non related to punitory attitudes or perceived constabularies effectiveness, while

hours of telecasting screening and beginning of offense intelligence are non related to fear of offense, punitory

attitudes or perceived constabularies effectiveness. Nevertheless, more research is required to find

the relationship between media ingestion and attitudes toward offense and justness.


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