Content Analysis of South African Sunday Newspaper Coverage of the Durban and Copenhagen Climate Change Conferences

Rendani Mulaudzi, Joseph Kioko

Abstract


Since the first United Nations climate change conference in 1995, newspapers have been vital in increasing coverage of climate change. Amidst growing number of events around climate change, the influence of international climate change conferences in newspaper coverage of climate change has not been fully interrogated in post-apartheid South Africa. This study aims to discover how three major South African Sunday broadsheet newspapers represented the Copenhagen conference (COP15) in 2009 and the Durban conference (COP17) in 2011. It used a national sample for the years 2009 and 2011, covering the City Press, The Sunday Independent and Sunday Times. The study carried out quantitative analysis of 58 articles published in the three leading Sunday newspapers between 01 January and 31 December. The direct involvement of South Africa on the Copenhagen and Durban climate change negotiations had an influence in the level of newspaper coverage. The frequency of articles published per month increased in November and December for all the years of interest. The dominantly reported main topics associated with COP are greenhouse gas emissions and the Kyoto Protocol. Both COP15 and COP17 were discussed frequently at a local level - domestic geographical scope. Overall, the article identified that South African print media is not consistent in the representation of COP. In order to better the reporting of international climate talks, print media has to be actively involved in integrative and collaborative engagement with COP relevant stakeholders.


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.11114/smc.v8i2.4749

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Studies in Media and Communication      ISSN 2325-8071 (Print)   ISSN 2325-808X (Online)

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