Contested confines: political risk and the media in South Africa


The South African private news media industry represents a substantial portion of the overall media industry and the most successful in terms of profit acquired. It is critical however to assess the shareholders and private ownership of the news media industry in order to determine the likely success of investment in this industry. However, additional risk factors need to be considered along with the shareholders and ownership; macro factors such as, legislation and economic stability as well as micro factors such as the restructuring of ownership and transparency within the industry. It is also fundamental that the news media industry of South Africa is assessed through the lens of its historical landscape and transformation and its Fourth Estate responsibilities. Through this assessment it is possible to conclude three likely outcomes of investment in the news media industry. These outcomes are based on the measured growth and current stability of the industry and the South African economy. The most concerning risk for investment is the continued economic downturn of the South African economy and its effect on restructuring of media ownership and a declining profit. This can be coupled with the risk of legislative turnover and executive overreach within the news media industry

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