Media discourses on gender in the time of COVID-19 pandemic in Zimbabwe

Bhekizulu Bethaphi Tshuma*, Lungile Augustine Tshuma, Nonhlanhla Ndlovu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

Abstract

Media institutions always have a public obligation to disseminate news that is fair, balanced and gender sensitive, more so in times of crisis. Within the context of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) global pandemic, it is important that media provide a diverse, balanced and gender sensitive coverage that reflects existing inequalities in a society rather than merely prioritising statistics of the infection and its death rates. Informed by poststructuralist feminist theory and normative roles of the media, this chapter investigates the discursive parameters of gendered media discourses within the context of COVID-19. This chapter presents results from a case study of two main daily newspapers—the Chronicle and NewsDay—circulating in the country by investigating their representation of gender. Findings indicate that while there was generally more coverage of issues affecting women, both newspapers reinforced deeply rooted biases in their reporting. The findings further show that the emphasis was on gender-based violence with statistics indicating that it was on the rise during lockdown. We argue that newspapers must always strive for sensitive reporting that challenges hierarchical gender relations if the transformative potential of the media is to be realised.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHealth crises and media discourses in Sub-Saharan Africa
EditorsCarol Azungi Dralega, Angella Napakol
PublisherSpringer
Pages267-283
Number of pages17
Edition1
ISBN (Print)9783030950996, 9783030951009
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2022
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Covid-19
  • Gender
  • Print media
  • Frames
  • Zimbabwe

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