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Chapter Five 1999 Post-Elections Period - Leicester Research ...

Chapter Five 1999 Post-Elections Period - Leicester Research ...

4.1 The Newspapers

4.1 The Newspapers Landscape 91 While there were many newspapers on the market in 1994, four of these published consistently. Two of these were the Malawi News and the Daily Times both owned by the Blantyre Newspapers Ltd (BNL) as part of the late President Banda‟s business empire. In essence, the Daily Times and the Malawi News were propaganda sheets of the MCP (See Van Donge 2002). The Nation is the first newspaper in the Nation Publications Limited (NPL) stable. It was also the only newspaper in the NPL stable in 1994. The proprietor of NPL is Aleke Banda. He was the UDF‟s First Deputy President and Muluzi‟s first Minister of Finance. Given its owner‟s political stand, the Nation sided with the pro-democracy movements prior to the 1994 elections. The Chronicle was created in 1993 by Rob Jamieson. Jamieson was active in the pro-democracy movements prior to 1994. Given the owner‟s political position as a pro- democracy activist, the Chronicle‟s editorial position tended to side with the pro- democracy movements rather than the MCP. Reversal of fortunes at the polls also meant a reversal of roles for most of the newspapers mentioned above. The Malawi News and the Daily Times which had been mouthpieces of the government and the MCP, became the new opposition newspapers. The Nation and the Chronicle, which had supported the opposition parties during the campaign period, began to lend their support to the new government and the ruling party. Consequently, the newspapers operating in the immediate period following the 1994 elections can be roughly divided between the pro-government newspapers, prominent among them were the NPL newspapers, and the opposition newspapers,

92 prominent among them were the BNL newspapers. Cammack (2000) argues that this state of affairs contributed to a decline in the level of critical journalism in the country: The ownership structure of the private print media . . . has been a worrying development for several reasons. Foremost it means that editorial policy is easily influenced by party politics, and that stories . . . are added or dropped according to political criteria instead of newsworthiness. . . . In such a situation robust debate, diversity of opinion and democracy suffer. (p. 4-5). This partisan division within the press, which essentially reflected the political binaries existing in the country, proved to be important interpretative tools in analysing the emergent frames. In order to demonstrate the partisan division within the press in the 1994 post election period, the subsequent sections discuss frames in the newspapers and the National Assembly along the party-lines they supported. 4.2 Overview of the Frames There were four overarching frames within the corpora. Two of these related to the question of national unity following the 1994 elections. The other two examined governance issues in the wake of the introduction of multiparty politics in Malawi. The 1994 newspapers‟ corpus consisted of 86 newspaper articles. The corpus yielded 199 coded paragraphs. Three frames emerged from these coded paragraphs. Of the 199 paragraphs, 122 were categorised as dealing with an emerging narrative that argued that the country needed to reconcile and unite following the polarising election campaign (See Table 4.1). These 122 paragraphs were coded out of 39 of the 86 articles in this corpus. This became the Unity Frame.

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