media discourse

MXit up in the Media: Media Discourse Analysis on Mobile Instant Messaging

Posted by chigona on Jul 13, 2010

Agnes Chigona and Wallace Chigona
Publication Type:
Journal article
Publication Date:
1 Dec 2008

Mobile instant messaging has the potential of providing youth not only with a social space where they can interact and bond but also with a learning environment. MXit is the most popular mobile instant messaging application in South Africa. Due to its nascency, little academic research has been done on the application.

The application has drawn considerable local media interest; however, most of the media coverage has been negative. Media discourse of the application is of academic interest, since media discourse is one of the many ways through which reality is constructed. This means there is a relationship between media discourse and public opinion. Distortions in the media may misinform and engender impaired decision making amongst policymakers as well as members of the public. Discourse analysis can reveal distortions in media communication and counter misinformation.

Using critical discourse analysis, we have analysed the media discourse on MXit by employing the Habermasian concept of the ideal speech situatio and its validity claims as a conceptual tool. The analysis shows that (i) the media discourse  is fraught with distortions; (ii) the media have mainly used the voice of adults to legitimise the discourse and marginalise the voices of the youth.