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Official Blames Foreign Television for Sanctions against South Africa With South Africa Bjt

August 15, 1986

PRETORIA, South Africa (AP) _ Deputy Information Minister Louis Nel said Friday that foreign television coverage of racial conflict has been an important factor in stirring the international sanctions campaign against South Africa.

″Over the past two years,″ he told the Pretoria Press Club, ″foreign television has in its coverage of South Africa offered its viewers something new: not a soap opera but a South African Rambo, an ongoing show with all the action and violence required by its commercially proven recipe, as well as a cast of good guys and baddies.

″This in turn has churned up public opinion against South Africa,″ he said.

″No wonder, then, that we have sanctions, and the threat of more to come. To a remarkable degree, foreign television has succeeded in pushing governments to take steps against South Africa,″ Nel said.

He complained that ″the peaceful side, reflecting perhaps 95 percent of our national life, is simply not aired.″

Television and photographic coverage of anti-apartheid unrest are banned under the emergency declared by the white-led government June 12. Such coverage was also banned during an earlier 7-month emergency that ended in March.

More than 2,000 people have been killed in two years of unrest stemming from black majority opposition to apartheid. Many have died in confrontations with security forces, and others in clashes between rival black groups.

Nel noted that the South African Broadcasting Corp. is run by a board of government-appointed directors and has no television competition.

″In comparing American and British TV newscasts with that of the SABC, we cannot but reach the conclusion that the SABC’s TV newscasts are less dramatic, less entertaining, but more informative,″ Nel said.