South African Media

South Africa's communications media were radically transformed by the political reforms sweeping the country in the 1990s. The most fundamental changes were the gradual easing of government censorship and its abolition in the interim constitution. In spite of frequent government censorship under apartheid, however, South Africans had received news reports through numerous publications and broadcasts.

Under apartheid, a vast array of legislation and regulations had imposed limits on the media. The South African Press Council, for example, had the power to fine newspaper editors for defying emergency regulations, which often barred coverage of political events.

South Africa is the continent's major media player, and its many broadcasters and publications reflect the diversity of the population.

Established state-run and commercial TV networks broadcast nationally, and hundreds of thousands of viewers subscribe to satellite and cable pay-TV services.

Deregulation in 1996 led to a proliferation of radio stations. Listeners in Johannesburg alone can choose from among some 40 radio services, from the national broadcasts of the state-owned South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) to community stations targeting local neighbourhoods or ethnic groups.

Newspapers and magazines publish reports and comment critical of the government and the state-owned SABC is far more independent now than during the apartheid era.

The press

  • The Star - Johannesburg-based daily, city's oldest newspaper
  • The Sowetan - Johannesburg-based tabloid
  • Daily Sun - mass-circulation tabloid
  • Beeld - largest Afrikaans daily
  • Mail & Guardian - weekly, operates Mail & Guardian online
  • Business Day - daily
  • Financial Mail - business weekly
  • Sunday Times/The Times - South Africa's oldest Sunday newspaper; publishes subscription-only daily


  • SABC - state broadcaster, operates three national TV networks, two pay-TV channels
  • - free-to-air commercial network
  • M-Net - pay-TV, pan-African audience


  • SABC - state broadcaster with 20 regional and national services in 11 languages, including: national English-language network SAfm; contemporary music station 5 FM; national Afrikaans station Radio Sonder Grense; national Zulu station Ukhozi FM; Sesotho station Lesedi FM
  • Channel Africa - SABC's external radio service, targeted at the African continent
  • YFM - popular Johannesburg commercial R&B, soul and hip-hop station
  • 702 Talk Radio - Johannesburg commercial news and talk station

News agency

  • South African Press Association (SAPA)


Last Updated on Monday 4th August 2008