Die joernalistieke oriëntasiefunksie van Beeld, Rapport en Die Kerkbode ten opsigte van homoseksualiteit, aborsie en dobbelary
Van Vlastuin, Evert
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Title: The journalistic orientation function of Beeld, Rapport, and Die Kerkbode with regard to homosexuality, abortion, and gambling. This study describes how three important South African Afrikaans newspapers (Beeld, Rapport and Die Kerkbode) fulfilled the journalistic orientation function with regard to three subjects of ethical concern, namely homosexuality, abortion, and gambling, during 1995. Each of the three newspapers has a different journalistic character. Bee/dis a daily paper, Rapport a Sunday paper, and Die Kerkbode the official magazine of the Dutch Reformed Church. These three ethical issues are pertinent in the South African context. Before the political reforms which began in the early 1990s, homosexual practice, abortion and gambling were forbidden by law. During 1995 the respective laws were changed (homosexuality) or were in the process of being changed (abortion and gambling) to allow these practices, albeit within some loosely defined limits. A theoretical framework regarding the journalistic orientation function was developed and applied in this study. Christian principles such as the views that man was created in the image of God and that communication is a basic structure of God's creation, were used as a point of departure. A fundamental point in this framework was that every journalistic report is influenced by the specific world view of its author, which implies that objectivity in journalism is impossible. It is then argued that the press is obliged to fulfill an orientation function, that is, to contribute to the audience's processing and understanding of reality. Five theoretical theses were formulated and used in a qualitative content analysis of all the news reports and articles from the three papers regarding homosexuality, abortion and gambling for 1995. The findings show that the three papers apparently fulfilled most of the basic requirements of the orientation function. However, some weak points were also identified. The study endeavoured to make a contribution to mass communication (ethics) from a Christian perspective.
- Humanities