Journalists' perceptions of their roles and identities with regard to the new partnership for Africa's development

Kanyegirire, A. S. T. (2008) Journalists' perceptions of their roles and identities with regard to the new partnership for Africa's development. PhD thesis, Rhodes University.




This qualitative study features in-depth interviews with selected continental African journalists and offers exploratory insights into how they perceive themselves in terms of their journalistic roles and/or sub-identities with regard to the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD). The study also examines correlations between their perceptions and their news stories on NEPAD. Grounded in the libertarian and social responsibility theories of journalism, and reading these theories from the standpoint of Africa, this study posits the neutral, watchdog, social agenda and development journalism sub-identities to explain the respondents’ journalistic identifications. Hence, the study explores how the journalists respond to NEPAD’s (pan)-Africanist and development journalism interpellations. The study draws on postcolonial theoretical perspectives to address questions concerning African identity and the wider NEPAD/African context of research. Findings indicated that the journalists perceive a role for themselves as neutral-objectivist information disseminators as well as social agenda enactors that conscientise their readers about NEPAD. Thus, the journalists tend to implicitly portray a pluralistic understanding of their roles that enables them to balance the ideals of journalism against the development and Africanist aspirations of NEPAD. Although the journalists were found to uphold oppositional stances towards NEPAD, they do not question it from outside of its own neo-liberal discourse. In fact, they still represent themselves as aspiring to its Africanism and remaining sympathetic to its development plans. Overall, they exhibit multiple identifications, and yet they often tend to lean towards their neutral-objectivist journalistic sub-identity. Ultimately, they prioritise the dominant libertarian-professional model of journalism over and above NEPAD’s interpellations. The study also examined the journalists’ interpretations of what they do and the apparent translation of this into their stories. Although in both their stories and interviews discourse they showed a broader orientation towards libertarianism, the findings show that the link between the two is not straightforward.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Journalists; journalists' roles; NEPAD; identity; journalistic identity; Africa
Subjects:A General Works > AZ History of Scholarship The Humanities
Divisions:Faculty > Faculty of Humanities > Journalism and Media Studies
Supervisors:Berger, G. (Prof.)
ID Code:1566
Deposited By: Nicolene Mvinjelwa
Deposited On:19 Jan 2010 14:39
Last Modified:06 Jan 2012 16:20
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