The project is aimed at contributing to a better understanding of the role that the media is playing in the important new geopolitical landscape and international relations within which South Africa is positioned. Specifically, our project seeks to investigate how South Africa’s relationship with China, within the broader framework of the BRICS group of nations, has been mediated.

The problem under investigation is how the South African media facilitates or resists the country’s growing relationship with China within the broader ambit of the country’s membership of the BRICS group of nations. Existing knowledge of the media’s role in the growing relationship between South Africa and China, within the rubric of the BRICS alignment, is scant. International research in this area is growing both in relation to the question of soft power as exercised via the media, and in relation to China’s increased presence in Africa. Up to date this research has however largely focused on:

  1. Chinese economic relations with African countries in a broad sense
  2. where Chinese media presence in Africa has been included, the focus has largely fallen on other parts of Africa.The focus on South Africa specifically has been limited to exploratory work.

This project will contribute to the study of South African media within the field of global communications. The overarching theoretical framework for the project will be that of global media studies, which include theories of media globalisation, flow and contraflow (Thussu, 2007; 2009). Within the subcomponents of the study, conceptual apparatus from international relations theory (especially the notions of ‘soft power’ and ‘public diplomacy, see Nye 2008 and 2011) and normative theory (e.g. Christians et al. 2009) will be utilised. The study will fill an important gap in the academic literature by being a longitudinal, bigger in scope, and multi-levelled study and as such will amplify and extend previous studies.


References in this page

  • Nye, J. S. (2008). The Powers to Lead. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Nye, J. S. (2011). Future of Power. New York: PublicAffairs.