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

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

213 service to

213 service to newspapers consumers. As Daily Times journalist Richard Chide put it: “Some may say 2004 was an aberration, but it may really be a taste of things to come if the owners decide to let us do our job.” (Mchakulu, 2004, p.7). 6.5.4 Summary Even though between 1999 and 2004, the state had turned violent and predatory against its own citizens including the press, changes in ownership and owners political alignment presented journalists at the newspapers under study an opportunity to adopt commentary on political issues, if not in the national interest, then at least in a way that revealed critical assessment and aversion to the previous regime. Even though the newspapers rhetoric reflected that of the opposition in parliament, the fact that newspapers such as the NPL newspapers took a hard line in their assessment of the previous UDF regime which they had supported in two post election periods in 1994 and 1999 reveals that the influence of the owner on the newspapers‟ framing had relaxed. This can also be noted regarding the BNL newspapers which concentrated on providing a critical and analytical commentary on Mutharika‟s agenda. It is inconceivable, drawing from the evidence in chapter four and chapter five, that MCP- owned BNL newspapers could have provided such a favourable commentary for a UDF president and his government as they did with Mutharika in 2004. The change of ownership at the BNL newspapers and the political re-alignment of ownership at the NPL stable may have had a strong hand in this. Even though the similar frame sets emerged from both the parliamentary and newspapers corpora, and even though they were articulated in much the same way, the fact that they appeared universally in all the

214 newspapers maybe an indication of a lack of partisan pressure on the part of editorial writers. 6.6 Conclusion The first research question in this study relates to the frames used by both newspapers and parliament to frame the post-elections period in 2004. In this respect, six frames were identified in the newspapers and the parliamentary corpora. These are the Leadership Frame, the Challenges Frame and the Electoral Process Frame in the newspapers corpus. The parliamentary corpus had the Leadership Frame, the Challenges Frame and the Failed Government Frame. The chapter discussed the Leadership Frames and the Challenges Frames together revealing how both corpora reflected the influence of President Mutharika‟s crafting of his economic agenda and its effects on these frames. Unlike in the previous two case studies in which newspapers reflected the political binaries existing in the country, this case study revealed a more measured framing of the issues reflected in all the frames. This chapter has also argued that this state of affairs was largely influenced by President Mutharika‟s crafting of his economic agenda. The agenda resonated strongly with both the press and MPs. In this respect, the new president was able to earn himself political capital which translated into favourable framing in both arenas. Beyond the new president‟s crafting of his agenda was the new found freedom of the press. The BNL newspapers‟ new owners who had no political connections and the NPL newspapers‟ owner‟s changed political alignment meant that the press had a chance to frame issues without political influence. In this respect, rather than political pressure, news values proved to be an important tool in crafting the frames that emerged in the newspapers corpus. The use of metaphors and exemplar proved to be an

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