Understanding Press Coverage of Cross-Border Migration in Southern Africa Since 2000
"Xenophobia is a distinctive and widespread phenomenon in South and Southern Africa. The print media, in particular, has been accused of exacerbating xenophobic attitudes. This paper discusses press coverage of cross-border migration in Southern Africa from 2000-2003, with a focus on xenophobia. The study revisits research conducted in South Africa by the Southern African Migration Project (SAMP) in the 1990s to determine what, if any, changes have occurred in that country’s press coverage of the issue. It also extends the investigation to three other SADC states (Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia). Empirical variations across the region serve to highlight that there is no single or universal explanation for xenophobic press coverage in Southern Africa. More importantly, the paper poses a series of hypotheses which attempt to explain why xenophobia does (or does not) exist in the region’s press and how the problem may be addressed. The hope is that these hypotheses will help us better understand the causes of xenophobia in the South African press – and any trends away from xenophobic press coverage – to assist with ways of combating xenophobia in the future."