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Media Representations of Perpetrators: Case Study of South Africa’s Eugene de Kock
Media, Violence, and Transitional Justice Class (2014)
  • Emily H Freilich, Pomona College
Abstract
This paper examines the importance and practices of media portrayal of perpetrators in human rights atrocities. Specifically, it investigates the media portrayal of Eugene de Kock, the commander of the Vlakplaas death squad in South Africa and one of the most notorious perpetrators of the South African apartheid. The paper first introduces the debates and moral dilemmas surrounding the media portrayal of perpetrators. It then examines the how news media and books represented Eugene de Kock and his Amnesty Committee trial and analyses how those portrayals help or hinder the transitional justice process in South Africa. The media surrounding de Kock varied in content, tone, and amount of context about apartheid and his actions. Taken alone, each would limit the transitional justice process in different ways, but as a whole, they contribute to a better understanding of the history of apartheid and de Kock’s guilt, innocence, and remorse. This case study can inform media portrayal of perpetrators in other countries working to reconcile their traumatic pasts and move forward into the future.
Publication Date
Fall December 15, 2014
Publisher Statement
Author Information: Name: Emily Freilich College: Pomona College Student Status: First year student Faculty Sponsor: Zala Volcic, Pomona College
Citation Information
Emily H Freilich. "Media Representations of Perpetrators: Case Study of South Africa’s Eugene de Kock" Media, Violence, and Transitional Justice Class (2014)
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/efreilich/1/