Gendered frames in HIV and AIDS reporting among Zimbabwean newspapers.

February 17, 2020
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Abstract For decades, there has been ongoing worldwide debate on negative portrayals of women in media. This paper explores how newspaper reports on...

Abstract

For decades, there has been ongoing worldwide debate on negative portrayals of women in media. This paper explores how newspaper reports on HIV and AIDS in institutions of higher learning of Zimbabwe frame female students. It attempts to address the key research question: how are female students in institutions of higher learning in Zimbabwe portrayed in newspaper articles that address HIV and AIDS issues, and what are the implications? The sample of the study was randomly selected and it constitutes eight newspaper articles published in seven state-owned and privately-owned newspapers that reported on HIV and AIDS in colleges and universities in Zimbabwe between 2013 and 2017. Informed by the Framing theory which postulates that context influences the formation of media frames which in turn affect audience opinions of issues, the study establishes that, consequent to social stereotypes of women, female students are predominantly framed in negative terms as vectors in the spread of HIV. The negative framing of women is likely to enhance their susceptibility, undermine the integrity of the higher education system of the country and influence policy change. There is need for media censorship and for media consumers to exhibit a degree of media literacy to minimize bias.

 

Key Words: Gender; Students; Framing; HIV and AIDS; Newspapers; Zimbabwe.

 

*     Clemenciana Mukenge is a Lecturer in the Linguistics Department, University of Zimbabwe, Mount Pleasant, Harare, Zimbabwe.

 

© AMCRON Journal of Communication and Media Research, Vol. 11, No. 1, April 2019, pp. 161 – 172

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