The Alternative Press
The term “Alternative Press” refers to a movement of media houses during the 1980’s, with a leftist orientation that emerged during the apartheid period in South Africa. The newspaper served as a voice to a majority of African black community who had no means to voice their opinion through media, that at the time was dominated by pro-apartheid and capitalist media houses.
The alternative press was supportive, during its period of existence for the working class and was very aligned with black civil society organization and movements that where against the apartheid regime and their dominant capitalist mainstream media houses. During its first years, alternative press was seen by mainstream media as the deviation from the interest of the minority, as a result they were harassed and tortured. Therefore, they were discredited and had to struggle to get legitimacy. Luckily, they did overcome these challenges and their content was relevant to majority groups and the world, especially the working class.
After the end of apartheid in 1994 most alternative press media houses collapsed. On the other hand, the fact that they were running in close link with the liberation movements which happen to be the ruling government today contributed to a lot of newspapers of alternative press to stop existing.
Today the role of alternative press such as “The Socialist Mail” is of continuing the struggle taking place, such as monitoring the checks and balances of the current governments on social issues such as access to proper and quality health services, education, sanitation, public transportation, jobs, etc.
By Isidro Macaringue