Spill-over effect in media framing: Representations of wildlife conservation in Zimbabwean and international media, 1989-2010

E. Gandiwa, S. Sprangers, S. van Bommel, I.M.A. Heitkonig, C. Leeuwis, H.H.T. Prins

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingAbstractAcademic


Myths and metaphors that occur in media frames play an important role in influencing public perceptions in times of war, political conflict, crisis and disaster. We investigated whether a metaphoric spill-over of frames used in connection with political events could explain the misrepresentation in the framing of non-political issues such as wildlife conservation. Zimbabwe experienced a severe political conflict and economic downturn following the land reforms in 2000. We analysed newspaper articles on Zimbabwe’s wildlife conservation published between 1989 and 2010 from newspapers in Zimbabwe, the United Kingdom and United States of America. We selected three issues about wildlife conservation in Zimbabwe in the local and international media, namely, the ivory ban, rhino protection, and CAMPFIRE to investigate the spill-over effect. Our results show that in the 1990s, the majority of newspaper articles highlighted that wildlife conservation in Zimbabwe was largely successful. However, two major changes occurred after 2000 following the land reforms. First, the international media lost interest in wildlife conservation in Zimbabwe as evidenced by a sharp decline in published articles and second, the frames changed in the international media with the “political unrest and land reform” blame frame becoming more dominant. This transition in reporting, frames, and low frame parity shows that there was a spill-over effect of political frames into wildlife conservation following Zimbabwe’s land reforms in 2000. Metaphoric spill-over effects may thus create myths in the readership, in turn influencing policy-derived actions in a sector that is not or poorly related to the actual disaster.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication12th Savanna Science Network Meeting, Kruger National Park
PublisherSANPark's Scientific Services
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Event12th Savanna Science Network Meeting, Skukuza, South Africa -
Duration: 10 Mar 201414 Mar 2014


Conference12th Savanna Science Network Meeting, Skukuza, South Africa


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