The influence of the print media in portraying women in sport : a case study of The Independent on Saturday
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During the Apartheid era in South Africa, women were marginalised from sport. The ability to participate in sport in South Africa is intrinsically linked to the political history of the country. Sport played a dynamic role in the struggle against the diabolical system of apartheid in South Africa and has a powerful role to play in the transformation and nation building of South Africa. Women have made great strides in sport in recent years in South Africa and the way in which media portray these sporting achievements is critically important to dislodging negative stereotypes and overcoming discrimination of women in sport. The unfair coverage of women’s sport displays gender based attitudes which systematically disadvantage women’s position in society. Women’s participation in sport has grown dramatically but despite this growth coverage of women in sport remains inferior to that given to men in sport across all media. Media need to acknowledge, promote and celebrate the wealth of talent that there is to be enjoyed by society. Newspaper reports are seldom challenged for not being accurate or truthful. But readers have a right to truthful information and reporting, and being trustworthy to the reader is the basis of good journalism. Media need to collectively reflect a diversity of content to ensure public access to a variety of viewpoints and they should expect societal intervention if the media fail to meet professional standards. The print media has a fundamental role to play in shaping public opinion and undoubtedly have an influence in portraying women in sport in South Africa. This study critically analyses the influence of the print media in portraying women in sport.