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Poor, black and female : an analysis of South African print media framing of people living with HIV/AIDS

Includes bibliographical references (leaves 91-105). / Media coverage of HIV/AIDS issues influences how the public views the epidemic and people living with HIV/AIDS (PWAs). This dissertation investigates how two key lwge circulation English ianguage newspapers in South Africa frame PWAs. The research examines both the content of selected print media, Sunday Times and Daily Sun, and the context in which journalists work. In relation to the latter, the study adopts a critical political economy perspective of the media which argues that political and economic constraints on media organizations in tension with human agency by journalists and editors impacts on the content of newspapers and other mass media. This thesis examines HIV/AIDS coverage from the beginning of January until the end of April 2005 through the use of content analysis. Most previous research in relation to HIV/AIDS reporting in the print media has concentrated on the poiiticization of coverage during key moments in South Africa’s HIV/AIDS history. This period was deliberately chosen to be both contemporaneous and in order to examine the routine representations of PWAs during 'ordinary times', when HIV/AIDS was not high on the political agenda. Qualitative research in the form of semi-structured in-depth interviews was also conducted with five reporters and editors in order to explore in greater detail issues relating to HIV/AIDS reporting. This research found that the print media in South Africa frames the HIV/AIDS epidemic in a gendered and racialised way. From print media reports examined, the picture painted of PWAs is usually black, female and poor. Official sources continue to dominate coverage, but PWAs are gaining a voice in news reports. The language used in these reports is becoming more positive and empowering, but is still regularly stigmatizing.
Date January 2005
CreatorsGrant, Deirdre
ContributorsChuma, Wallace
PublisherUniversity of Cape Town, Faculty of Humanities, Aids and Society Research Unit
Source SetsSouth African National ETD Portal
Detected LanguageEnglish
TypeMaster Thesis, Masters, MPhil

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