New features of media imperialism: The South African online media and the coverage of the Ukrainian war

Mandla Radebe
a:1:{s:5:"en_US";s:27:"University of Johannesburg ";}

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New features of media imperialism: The South African online media and the coverage of the Ukrainian war . (2022). Communicare: Journal for Communication Studies in Africa, 41(2), 75-89.
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  • Submited: August 6, 2022
  • Published: December 15, 2022


The coverage of the war in Ukraine has unravelled inherent biases within the South African online commercial media. These biases are largely driven by its location within the global capitalist power structures, thus confirming continuities of media imperialism. By relying on Western sources, this media invariably exports Western norms, standards, hegemonic narrative and worldview. This paper employs content analysis to examine the coverage of the war by five South African online publications (News24, IOL, TimesLive, and BusinessTech) between January and February 2022. The coverage was largely negative because of concerns about the impact on global markets. The West’s dominant views are discernible due to the chosen sources, with over 80 per cent coming from its newswires. Similarly, the opinions of Western political and business leaders and their business and economic analysts are prevalent. While it is expected for stories to be framed from a conflict perspective, it is the economic consequences frame that also drives the coverage, with Russia blamed, as reflected in the predominant theme “Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine”. While there have been fundamental developments since the concept of media imperialism emerged, this coverage points to some continuities. It is precisely for this reason that the South African media should develop partnership beyond the West, more so, in the context of the growing importance of BRICS.


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How to Cite
New features of media imperialism: The South African online media and the coverage of the Ukrainian war . (2022). Communicare: Journal for Communication Studies in Africa, 41(2), 75-89.

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