This study evaluates how the Eastern Cape local web newspapers frame food security in the Eastern Cape Province. A qualitative content analysis by means of textual analysis was used to evaluate the selected local web newspaper’s content on food security related stories within the period of July-December 2017. The sample was drawn from four Eastern Cape local web newspapers- Daily Dispatch Live, Herald Live, Go and Express and The Talk of the Town. The analysis sought to determine how the selected local web newspapers frame food security concerning food availability, accessibility and affordability in the Eastern Cape Province. Additionally, the study aimed to ascertain the issues about food security that are raised by the Eastern Cape local web newspapers and, to establish the extent to which these Eastern Cape local web newspapers’ framing is helpful in ensuring participation, empowerment and community mobilization for food securing purposes. The results of this study indicate that the local web newspapers frame Eastern Cape Province as untapped food basket. The framing suggests that the Province can leverage its agricultural resources for job creation which will ensure economic growth and food security. The local web newspapers framing suggests that there are numerous channels such as natural food production, livestock production, smallholder farming that can enhance availability and access to affordable food to people in the Eastern Cape Province. The findings revealed that local web newspapers frame increased agricultural production as an important issue that demand serious and urgent attention of the Provincial government as it has the potential of not only ensuring food security but also impacting positively on the income of local farmers. The local web newspapers frame farm attacks, land redistribution and reinstatement as important factors that hinder food production and, ultimately, food security in the Eastern Cape Province. Furthermore, this study discovered that the frame of references used by the local web newspapers, especially the emphasis on local farming, land redistribution and private sector help to empower and mobilize individuals and communities to participate in food security initiatives. This study concludes that Eastern Cape Local Web Newspapers can be veritable tools to enhance food security channels in the Eastern Cape Province.
KEYWORDS: Web-based newspapers; local media; food security; community participation