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

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

223 situations where the

223 situations where the content of political communication is unchallenged, it may end up being nothing more than hero worship. The Electoral Process Frame emerged in the 1999 and 2004 case studies in the newspapers corpora. The main reasons why it did not appear in the parliamentary corpus were legal reasons. The opposition, in both case studies, were appealing against the outcome of both elections in the High Court. Thus, they were not permitted to comment on the same on the National Assembly floor. However, considering the institutional partnership of the MCP and the BNL newspapers, the opposition parties were able to put across their views on the issue in the Daily Times and the Malawi News. In the 2004 case study, the Electoral Process Frame was more sustained and significant because of the press‟s newfound freedom. Thus, the press was able to be more clinical (and brutal) in its assessment of the MEC and the UDF‟s role in the mismanagement of the election. Partisan motives lie behind the emergence of the two Failed Government Frames in the 1994 and 2004 parliamentary corpora. The first was to diminish the achievements of an outgoing administration in favour of a new administration. The second was the promise of better days with the incoming administration. The 1994 frame was advanced by the UDF MPs and it painted a negative picture of the MCP‟s 31 years in power. However, in 2004 the UDF would suffer the same punish which they meted out on the MCP when the party‟s ten years of power was negatively assessed in the 2004 post election period. Frames were really no more or less likely to be recurrent in newspaper versus parliamentary discourses. Newspapers and parliament mirrored each other often, though not always in the frames that characterised their discourses. In 1994, the reason for this may be found in the partisan nature of ownership. The BNL newspapers‟ articulation of

224 the Unity Frame, in particular, reflected strongly the MCP/AFORD alliance‟s articulation in parliament including incessant calls for a government of national unity. On the other hand, the Nation and the Chronicle reflected the UDF‟s position which was to deny any unity problems or when such problems were acknowledged to apportion the blame to the MCP. In 1999, the answer can definitely be found in the one- sided nature of parliamentary discourse. With the MCP/AFORD alliance boycotting parliament, the UDF were left to craft issues without challenge. In 2004, the ownership at the NPL stable had changed political colours removing the burden of supporting the UDF from the editorial writers. At the BNL newspapers, the change of ownership also removed the burden of supporting the MCP. Thus, even though there were similar frames across the corpora, the lack of support for any particular party in all the three sets of newspapers reveal that the press had acquired a larger degree of freedom compared to 1994 and 1999. 7.1.4 Links to Generic Frames The fourth principle to be observed regarding the frames detected in this study is their link to generic frames. As noted earlier in this chapter, the frames discovered in this study are emergent or issue-specific frames. However, as de Vreese, Peter, & Semetko (2001) argue that emergent frames such as these may lead to the discovery of generic frames from the corpus. The study has been able to establish the general framework of generic frames in some of the emergent frames. For example, the Consequences Frame of the 1999 case study emphasized the negative economic consequences to be expected for re-electing the UDF back into power. The Challenges Frames of the 2004 case studies also emphasized the negative economic consequences of the many years of fiscal indiscipline and economic mismanagement while looking forward with hope at

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