This paper discusses the print media's coverage of cross-border migration in South Africa and how it may affect both public opinion and policymaking on the topic. The paper argues that coverage of international migration by the South African press has been largely anti-immigrant and unanalytical. Not all reportage is negative, and newspaper coverage would appear to be improving over time, but the overwhelming majority of the comprehensive collection of newspaper articles, editorials and letters to the editor surveyed for this research are negative about immigrants and immigration and are extremely unanalytical in nature, uncritically reproducing problematic statistics and assumptions about crossborder migration in the region. Although it is impossible to draw direct causal links between this kind of anti-immigrant media coverage and anti-immigrant policymaking and xenophobia in South Africa, the paper does argue that the two are at least mutually reinforcing and that the print media has a responsibility to be more balanced and factual in its reporting on the issue.


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pp. 115-137
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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