Whose freedom? South Africa's press, middle-class bias and the threat of
Threats to the autonomy of South Africa's press have prompted protest – understandably so. But, while media control or censorship are inimical to the free flow of information, which is essential to democracy, the mainstream press's response to real and perceived threats has done more to reveal the depth of its middle-class bias than to rally citizens behind the defence of freedom. The article seeks to demonstrate that the mainstream media's understanding of freedom is restricted to the liberties of the suburban middle classes. It supports this argument by analysing both the journalistic preoccupations it seeks to defend and the phrasing of its attempts to oppose state control. And it argues that the framing of press freedom as a purely middle-class concern will make it increasingly unlikely that free expression can be effectively defended.