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South Africa and China as BRICS partners: media perspectives on geopolitical shifts. Herman Wasserman Rhodes University, South Africa. Outline. SA in BRICS – closer relationship Mediation of geopolitical shifts Interpenetration of media presence SA coverage of China China coverage of SA

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south africa and china as brics partners media perspectives on geopolitical shifts

South Africa and China as BRICS partners: media perspectives on geopolitical shifts

Herman Wasserman

Rhodes University, South Africa

outline
Outline
  • SA in BRICS – closer relationship
  • Mediation of geopolitical shifts
  • Interpenetration of media presence
  • SA coverage of China
  • China coverage of SA
  • Conclusion
sa china in brics
SA & China in BRICS
  • SA joining BRICS in 2010 on invitation from China heralds new partnership
  • Emerging from isolated pariah to regional power
  • SA’s status as a BRICS country contested – much smaller economy than other partners, inequality
  • Criticism of BRICS as no more than ‘catchy acronym’ (Bremmer in NYT)
  • BRICS might compete rather than collaborate
  • Opposition to status quo rather than coherent team
geopolitical shifts are mediated
Geopolitical shifts are mediated
  • In these geopolitical shifts – media a key player
  • Media among flow and counterflow of capital
  • Media represent these countries to each other
  • Media a proxy for negotiation of key values:

‘Debates about media are debates about

democracy’

interpenetration of media
Interpenetration of media
  • China’s use of media for ‘soft power’ in Africa:
    • CCTV based in Nairobi
    • Xinhua used widely by African media, also on mobile
    • China Daily publishes African edition from Johannesburg
    • Exchange visits and training for journalists
    • Infrastructure development for African media

http://martinplaut.wordpress.com/2012/11/23/chinas-soft-power-offensive-in-africa/

interpenetration of media1
Interpenetration of media
  • ‘The rise of ChinAfrica’ – Chinese investment supports economic boom on continent
  • African media company Naspers ‘rides big Chinese wave’ through Tencent
image of china in sa media
Image of China in SA media

Started with cautious attitude

Analysis of coverage over last 3 years shows balanced view of China emerging, becoming more positive

Cautiously optimistic attitude in media – not pigeonholed as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ story

China firm place on news agenda

Strong economic focus, little social coverage

Economic interest supersedes political issues

conclusion
Conclusion
  • SA-China - mediated relationship
  • Media an actor in growing relationship
  • Image of China in SA media becoming more positive; Concerns about SA in Chinese media
  • Mostly economic and political coverage
  • BRICS economic category – will media help make it social and cultural category as well?
thank you
Thank you
  • h.wasserman@ru.ac.za
  • See CFP for special issue of Ecquid Novi: African Journalism Studies on China in Africa (2013)