Disinformation has become a key concern in scholarly production, communication practice, and political discourse in recent years. Despite the strong growth in scholarly production and activism, this burgeoning subfield of communication studies remains dominated by perspectives from the Global North. In this regard, disinformation studies replicate the asymmetrical knowledge production characterizing the field as a whole. A closer look at contexts in the Global South brings to light the importance of history, social dynamics, and power relations in understanding the drivers of disinformation and the most appropriate responses to the problem. This lecture will engage critically with knowledge production in the area of disinformation, argue for the importance of the Global South as a context for disinformation studies, and discuss cases to illustrate an intersectional approach to disinformation from the perspective of the majority world.
Professor Herman Wasserman, professor and chair of the Department of Journalism at Stellenbosch University, is a renowned media scholar with a PhD from the University of Stellenbosch. A former journalist, he held academic roles at universities including Cape Town, Sheffield, Newcastle, and Rhodes. With extensive publications on African media, media ethics, and conflict, his books, including Tabloid Journalism in South Africa (Indiana University Press, 2010), Media, Geopolitics, and Power (Illinois University Press, 2018), and The Ethics of Engagement: Media, Conflict and Democracy in Africa (Oxford University Press, 2020) showcase his impactful contributions. A fellow of the International Communication Association, a Fulbright research fellow and Georg Forster Award recipient, Herman is also the editor-in-chief of the academic journals African Journalism Studies and the Annals of the International Communication Association.