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

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

135

135 Chapter Five 1999 Post-Elections Period: Continuing Partisan Framing 5.0 Introduction This chapter discusses the findings of the 1999 post elections case study. It is divided into two substantive sections. The first section will each discuss the frames detected in the newspapers corpus. This will include an interpretation of the frames in relation to the political environment from which they emerged. The second section will discuss frames detected in the parliamentary corpus. As with the first section, this will be followed by an interpretative discussion of the frames. Unlike the previous case study which had clear parallels between the two framing arenas, this case study did not have such parallel frames. This was because the opposition were boycotting the opening of parliament. Because of this, the UDF MPs were able to frame issues in a self-congratulatory manner which avoided the real issues facing the nation. In the newspapers, however, the framing tended to be influenced by the events surrounding the outcome of the elections. In this respect, there was clear contestation of the problem definitions in the three frames detected in the newspapers. As with the previous case study, it is important to understand the newspapers landscape in effect at that time in Malawi. Thus, before presenting the substantive sections, the chapter will discuss the newspapers and their relation to political parties. The next section argues that newspaper owners and their connections to political parties allowed the existing political divisions in the country to be reflected in the political commentary in the newspapers under study.

5.1 The Newspapers Landscape 136 There were a few major changes on the newspapers scene. Between 1998 and 1999, the owner of the Chronicle, Rob Jamieson, became more intensely involved with the international human rights organisation ARTICLE 19 (See Cammack, 2000). In this respect, he became quite critical of the UDF government‟s record on free speech and freedom of the press in the build up to the 1999 election which was characterised by violence between the ruling UDF and the MCP/AFORD alliance. This, in turn, seemed to affect the Chronicle‟s editorial stand which seemed to be more and more at odds with the UDF. Consequently, the Chronicle‟s framing in the 1999 post-election case study tended to be similar to that of the BNL newspapers rather than the NPL newspapers. This change in editorial policy at the Chronicle definitely irked the UDF government because it decided not to advertise in the newspaper depriving the Chronicle of a huge percentage of advertising revenue (See Cammack, 2000). At the NPL newspapers, the Nation had since become a daily newspaper and the Weekend Nation, publishing on Saturday, had been added to the stable. Aleke Banda, the owner of the NPL, remained a senior cabinet minister in the UDF government. Even though Aleke Banda remained closely tied to the UDF, media scholars in Malawi (Patel, 2000; Chimombo & Chimombo, 1996) observed that the NPL stable news coverage of political affairs tended to be balanced and fair to all sides of the debate (See chapter two). However, this chapter will argue, based on the evidenced uncovered, that the NPL stable continued to provide favourable editorial commentary to the UDF. Ownership at the BNL stable was in legal limbo. Dr. Hastings Kamuzu Banda, the owner, had since passed away. His will was being disputed by his family, and the issue was in arbitration in the High Court, and then, the Supreme Court. John Tembo, the Vice-President of the MCP, continued to act as Chairman of the board. Thus, even

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