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

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

217 of different news

217 of different news topics, some even over time and potentially, in different cultural contexts. In total, the study revealed 17 frames across the case studies (See Table 7.1). These frames dealt with eight different types of issues which included issues of national unity, national leadership, governance, economic consequences and the challenges emerging out of certain electoral outcomes, and the management of electoral processes. There was an almost even distribution of the frames between the parliamentary corpora and the newspapers‟ corpora across all studies. The 1994 and the 2004 case studies had three frames each in the newspapers and the parliamentary corpus. The 1999 case study had three frames in the newspapers‟ corpus and two in the parliamentary corpus. Issue-specific or emergent frames permitted this study to focus specifically on the contextual factors affecting the selection, organisation and elaboration of the issues in Malawi‟s national political discourse. However, as de Vreese, Peter, and Semetko (2001, p.108) point out, issue specific frames cause considerable difficulties in comparison, generalisation and use as a base of theory building. In this respect, the generalisations emerging from the findings in this study can be achieved through categorising the frames emergent across the case studies and attempting to understand the conditions that led to the emergence of these frames. Consequently, the emergent frames can be grouped into three. In the process of discussing these groups of frames, the chapter will present the generalisations arising out of the case studies presented in the foregoing chapters of this thesis. 7.1.1 Overarching Frames: A Note on Converging Frames Table 7.1 presents all the frames detected in this study across all the case studies and all corpora. The first group of frames can be categorised as overarching frames. Except for the 1999 case study, the case studies tended to feature overarching frames that were

218 detected in both the newspapers corpus and the parliamentary corpus. For example, the 1994 case study had Unity Frames and the Governance Frames which appeared in both the newspapers‟ corpus and the parliamentary corpus. The 2004 case study had the Challenges Frames which appeared in the newspapers corpus and the parliamentary corpus (See Table 7.1). Overarching frames reveal the salient issues in the particular case studies in which they appear. For example, the question of national unity was particularly relevant in 1994 because of the regional voting trends manifest in the elections outcome. Emerging from a dictatorial era in which the authorities painted a picture of a united nation, free from ethnic and regional divisions, the outcome of the election was a jarring reality check for Malawians at the inception of the Second Republic. It caused enough concern to warrant discussion in both the newspapers and the National Assembly. Apart from national unity, the question of governance was salient enough to warrant discussion in both the newspapers and the parliament in 1994. The country was just changing over from a dictatorship to a multiparty system of politics. In this respect, it is only to be expected that a stock taking of the previous regime and the anticipated benefits of a new political dispensation would be discussed in both arenas. The emergence of the Challenges Frames in both the newspapers corpus and the National Assembly corpus in the 2004 case study is a reflection of the economic challenges and their salience to the nation at that time. In this respect, the human interest aspect of the frame served to increase the salience of the issue in both arenas. A principle or generalisation that emerges out of this group of frames is that some issues are going to be salient enough to command sustained interest from the press and parliament simultaneously. This is especially true when some political parties decide to

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