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Framing Social Deviance: a Comparative Analysis of South African Newspapers’ Representation of Drug Use and Abuse Among The Youth.

Khutso Mabokela
Thabiso Muswede


This article examines framing of drug abuse in two South African newspapers in order to gain deeper insights on how the press influence public opinion and perceptions on social ills bedevilling society. In particular, the article compares and contrasts how South African newspapers, namely, the Daily Sun and the Sowetan framed the use of an illicit drug called nyaope among the youth in South Africa. The study determined the frequency and nature of news reports, assessed the quality of the news reports, and compared the news reporting styles adopted by both newspapers. The study espoused a descriptive mixed method design as the research approach. According to the report's results both tabloids' coverage of nyaope abuse was limited, as part of their required commitment to creating awareness of drug abuse by young people. The study also highlighted the absence of narrative reporting and in-depth coverage as critical styles of reporting on illicit drugs and related issues. This limits the scope of tabloid coverage of nyaope use in communities, as tabloids tend to concentrate on surface issues rather than delving deeper into the issues at play. Despite the fact that tabloid newspapers are prone to misreporting news about nyaope abuse, the drug remains a hot topic that affects the vast majority of South Africans. As a result, more thorough research on nyaope usage is urgently needed in order to improve the frequency and quality of drug abuse reporting.

Keywords: Framing; Illicit drugs; Mixed Methods; Nyaope; Tabloid; South Africa