MEDIA COVERAGE ON XENOPHOBIA SCRUTINIZED IN JOURNALISM LECTURER’S PHD THESIS
Media coverage in South Africa regarding incidents of xenophobia and how such reports influence society’s attitudes towards foreign nationals has come under scrutiny in one WSU academic’s research paper.
Journalism lecturer Quatro Mgogo, who graduated earlier this month with a PhD in media and communication from the University of Fort Hare, narrowed down the scope of his timeous research and embarked on his academic journey under the theme “A critical analysis of the influence of media on xenophobic behaviours among students in selected South African universities”.
“This study was triggered by a series of xenophobic attacks that occurred around the country over the past decade, including the first major outburst that happened in Alexandra in May 2008 in Alexandra which left 60 foreign nationals dead.”
“In 2015 another wave of xenophobic attacks erupted following a purportedly anti-foreigner speech by Zulu King, Goodwill Zwelithini resulting in the death of over 60 foreign nationals. Two years after, precisely on 19 February 2017, there was yet another xenophobic incident in Pretoria in which at least three houses occupied by foreign nationals were set on fire,” said Mgogo.
He says his interest in the subject was further peaked by his own experiences of xenophobia at WSU after engaging and interacting with students who displayed certain unflattering views about foreign nationals.
Mgogo said this interaction and resultant insight into the student’s prevailing perceptions inspired him to narrow his focus specifically to universities because they’re often the microcosm of society.
“My study revealed that xenophobic behaviours were evident amongst students, in lecture-rooms, as well as student residences. The participants also confirmed that the media’s focus and reliance on negative stereotypes and generalized information when representing foreign nationals were the main contributing factors to xenophobic behaviours, including its previous adopting of terms like Amakwerekwere, Aliens, and Amagrigamba,” said Mgogo.
He said in an attempt to discourage xenophobic tendencies, the study therefore recommended peace journalism and Ubuntu journalism as alternative models for reporting xenophobic violence and conflict.
In a bid to advance his own personal academic ambitions, and to compete amongst his peers, Mgogo has enrolled in a course at Rhodes University titled: “Strengthening Postgraduate Supervision”.
“I have also submitted four journal articles for publication. Three of my papers have been accepted to three upcoming conferences. Two of those will be entered into a national conference, whilst the other will be submitted to a conference in Japan,” he said.
Mgogo, who also lectures research methodology, said following his latest academic conquest, he trusts his newly-found skillset will help student owing to the acquisition of new scientific research methods to be applied in different research approaches.