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Anglophone African Newspaper Coverage of AIDS: Comparing Media Links to New Models of Press-State Relations and Structural Factors

The immediate objective of the proposed paper is to systematically compare AIDS coverage in major English-language newspapers in thirteen Anglophone sub-Saharan African countries displaying high and low prevalence of AIDS, after placing these countries in the context of the three distinct media system models. The three models are an effort to adapt Hallin & Mancini’s three models of media and politics, constructed to describe patterns in Western Europe (Comparing Media Systems, Cambridge University Press, 2004) , to circumstances in sub-Saharan Anglophone Africa. After defining and characterizing three African models as “pluralist”, “instrumental” and “hegemonic”, the paper then develops a research design to compare these “media system” explanatory factors with “structural” factors (such as level of Gross Domestic Product, literacy rate, infant mortality rate, etc.), factors found important in previous cross-national research on AIDS in Africa, in order to compare the explanatory power of both media system and structural levels of analysis. This paper is part of a larger project comparing the contribution of variations in journalism culture (dispassionate or “public”/”civic” journalism), media systems and structural factors to cross-national differences in reporting on AIDS in Africa.

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