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Media, Geopolitics and power

Media, Geopolitics and power

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The end of apartheid brought South Africa into the global media environment. Outside companies invested in the nation's newspapers while South African conglomerates pursued lucrative tech ventures and communication markets around the world. Many observers viewed the rapid development of South African media as a roadmap from authoritarianism to global modernity.

Herman Wasserman analyses the debates surrounding South Africa's new media presence against the backdrop of rapidly changing geopolitics. His exploration reveals how South African disputes regarding access to, and representation in, the media reflect the domination and inequality in the global communication sphere. Optimists see post-apartheid media as providing a vital space that encourages exchanges of opinion in a young democracy. Critics argue that the public sphere mirrors South Africa's past divisions and privileges the viewpoints of the elite. Wasserman delves into the ways these simplistic narratives obscure the country's internal tensions, conflicts and paradoxes even as he charts the diverse nature of South African entry into the global arena.

Watch Prof Wasserman talking about his book in four short videos here.


About the author:


Herman Wasserman is Professor of Media Studies and Director of the Centre for Film and Media Studies at the University of Cape Town, South Africa. He has published widely on media in post-apartheid South Africa, including more than 60 articles in peer-reviewed journals and more than 35 book chapters. His books include the monograph Tabloid Journalism in South Africa (Indiana University Press, and UCT Press, 2010) and the edited collections Chinese Media and Soft Power in Africa: Promotion and Perceptions, with Xiaoling Zhang and Winston Mano, (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016), Media Ethics and Justice in a Global Age, with Shakuntala Rao (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015), Reporting China in Africa (Routledge, 2014) and Press Freedom in Africa: Comparative Perspectives (Routledge, 2013).


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