Social justice for the poor: The framing of socioeconomic rights in selected South African newspapers

Sarah H. Chiumbu, Vasu Reddy, Narnia Bohler-Muller, Ntombizonke A. Gumede, Amanda Mtshengu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Apartheid South Africa created a society of deep-seated inequalities divided along race, class, and gender lines. The promotion of socioeconomic rights and redistributive justice is thus an important element in the country’s on-going transformation. This article analyzes the framing of stories on socioeconomic rights by three South African national newspapers. Using a combination of framing analysis and critical political economy insights, we show that although the newspapers foreground the importance of socioeconomic rights and recognize voices of the marginalized, the majority of the stories contain gaps and silences on critical issues concerning the structural causes of inequality and socioeconomic injustices in South Africa. The argument concludes by motivating a rethinking of the country’s normative media frameworks for the development of a journalism practice that would resonate in a country characterized by social polarization and material inequalities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)959-975
Number of pages17
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Constitution
  • critical political economy
  • framing
  • media system
  • social justice
  • socioeconomic rights

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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