Partybeheerde kommunikasie in die Noordwesprovinsie tydens die Suid-Afrikaanse algemene verkiesing van 1999 / Lynnette Mitzi Fourie
Fourie, Lynnette Mitzi
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This study examines the party-controlled communication of the five most important political parties in the North West Province of South Africa during the 1999 general elections. The main assumption is that political parties in developing democracies have a normative obligation to do more than canvas for votes during an election campaign. Political parties should also be instrumental through their communication in fostering a democratic political culture. Central to this argument is the notion that a typical marketing approach is not suitable for an election campaign in a developing democracy. In accordance with the participatory approach to development, it is thus proposed that the two-way symmetrical model for public relations (as proposed by James Grunig) is a more appropriate approach to election campaigns. Especially relevant for this study is the two-way symmetrical model's emphasis on interaction and the establishment of long tern relationships with target publics. Through an extensive qualitative analysis of all relevant material (party manifests, newspaper advertisements, radio advertisements, pamphlets, posters and web pages), it was found that South African political parties placed much less emphasis on the "image" of the party or its leader compared to their American counterparts. However, that did not imply that the substance of the message was emphasised adequately. On the contrary, the political parties participating in the elections in the North-West province generally failed the normative criteria of informing voters and identifying democratic values adequately. Furthermore it was found that the cognitive and emotional campaign messages were not fully integrated. While the focus was on typical election issues (emotional message), these issues were not explained and contextualised within a developing democracy to the full extend (cognitive message). Therefore the emotional message was not utilised to focus the voter's attention on policy issues and democratic values. In conclusion it is argued that political parties should do much more than merely canvas for votes. They should also empower voters by informing them on their policy issues and highlighting democratic values in society. Only then the new South African democracy will be sustainable.
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