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UK Newspaper Coverage of Africa: A Content Analysis of the Guardian, and the Daily Mail from the Years 1987-1989 and 2007-2009

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posted on 09.08.2016, 10:50 by Aniekeme Okon Ikon
A number of studies have been done on Western media coverage of Africa. Quantitatively, these studies show that Africa does not receive significant coverage from mainstream Western media. The studies also tend to point out that Africa as a region is seen largely by the Western media as an area of incessant calamity, conflict, strife, and catastrophe. This study draws from the findings of previous research and analyses the coverage of African nations in two UK newspapers, namely The Guardian and The Daily Mail during two time periods (1987-1989 and 2007- 2009) to ascertain if the coverage is as negative and insignificant as it is often suggested. For an in-depth examination of the issue, the study looks specifically at reporting that deals with Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa. The study shows that negative topics such as armed conflicts, political and economic crisis, human rights and social conflicts were prominent in the coverage of the three nations. In addition, the examined newspapers mostly had short articles, with the majority being fewer than 500 words in length. Not many of those made it to the first page, either. The predominant frame used to cover the three countries was the “Africa as unclean, risky, a battleground, helpless or a place to be feared” frame. The results obtained indicate that the pattern of minimal or negative reporting on Africa continued to occur in the two newspapers’ coverage of Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa over the two time periods.



Saltzis, Kostas; Hansen, Anders

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Department of Media and Communication

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University of Leicester

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