Call for Abstracts – Online Symposium on Hallin and Mancini

We are pleased to announce a call for abstracts / expression of interest for an online symposium to be held in June 2024, focusing on the intricate interplay between media, politics, and democracy in the Global South. Scholars from diverse disciplinary backgrounds, including but not limited to media and communication, African studies, Global South studies, and media and democracy, are invited to submit their original research abstracts of 300 words by May 22nd 2024.


Hallin and Mancini’s seminal work, “Comparing Media Systems: Three Models of Media and Politics” (2004), has provided a foundational framework for understanding the complex relationship between media and democracy. However, the landscape has evolved significantly since its inception, particularly in regions like the Global South. In South Africa, for example, a burgeoning democracy a mere decade ago, the dynamics between media, politics, and democracy have undergone profound transformations. Factors such as increased media diversity, the proliferation of digital platforms, and ongoing challenges to media freedom have reshaped the terrain.

The updated hybridisation model (Hallin et al., 2021) helps to understand media markets in terms of fragmentation but does not go far enough to explore and evaluate the influence of global and local politics in the media markets, particularly in the postcolony. Additional characteristics that affect the postcolony, particularly in the Global South and especially in Africa, should better outline ethics of media practice, the continued political interventions on journalistic integrity and professionalism, and the unique specifics of digital, language, and geographical access. Blanket models that are developed for and by Western theorists have a difficult application to Global South systems, even if some aspects fit with a squeeze.

The Hallin and Mancini (2004, 2012; Hallin et al., 2021) models are important and illuminating, but none fit exactly the media systems of postcolonial, Global South countries. The hybrid model is more appropriate and applicable, but even here the application is mixed. These models are a useful set of variables with which to understand how the media and political systems intertwine, but trying to ruthlessly force this system to fit into the blanket models would be best left for Procrustes, not communication theory. We suggest that it may be time to create a new, non-Western-centric typology of media markets that considers the intricate histories of postcolonialism, struggles of democracy, and a Fourth Industrial Revolution that steamrolls over some and yet simply leaves others behind.