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JMS International Collaborative Media Research into the BRICS Phenomenon Receives a Funding Boost

Date Released: Wed, 11 July 2012 16:49 +0200

The inclusion of South Africa in the BRICS alignment of emerging economies (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) raises questions about how the media frames the country’s position in global economic and political relations. The emergence of new regional centres in Asia, Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa, acting as nodes for increased transnational flows of media content and capital, have called for a new approach to the study of global media that necessitates more comparative work within regions of the Global South. Here, global shifts in the communication landscape are increasingly rendering existing approaches to global communication - such as 'international' communication or centre-periphery newsflow theories - inadequate. These questions form one of the points of focus in research done in the School of Journalism and Media Studies.

Comparative research in the School’s Research Unit for Media in the Global South, headed by prof Herman Wasserman, has received a boost recently with the receipt of research grants for the study of the South African media’s role within these unfolding global relationships. Prof Wasserman forms part of an international research team, headed by prof Kaarle Nordenstreng from the University of Tampere, Finland, which has recently been awarded a grant of 686 000 Euro from the Finnish academy over four years to study the topic ‘Media Systems in Flux: The Challenge of the BRICS Countries’.

Prof Wasserman is also a member of another research group , headed by prof Xiaoling Zhang of Nottingham University and joined by dr Winston Mano of Westminster University, that recently received 50 000 Euro in funding from the Taiwannese Chiang Ching-Kuo Foundation for International Scholarly Exchange for a study on “China's Promotion of Sofi Power in Africa: A Study of Emerging Media and Cultural Relations between China and Southern Africa”

 The BRICS theme will be continued at the upcoming Highway Africa conference, to be held in Grahamstown from 9-11 September . The conference has as its theme  “Africa Rising? How the media frame the continent’s geopolitics, trade and economic growth”. Scholars, journalists and policymakers will debate this theme over the course of the conference. One of the features of the conference will be a seminar where scholars from China and India will discuss ‘The Rise of the Rest’: Journalism in the BRICS countries’ with their South African counterparts.