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

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

241 in Malawi‟s

241 in Malawi‟s political arena especially in the 1994 and the 1999 case studies. However, the emergence of the “national interest” model seems to suggest that the press gained a larger degree of freedom in 2004 than it had in 1994 and 1999. 8.1.1 Government Journalism Newspapers whose owners were associated with the ruling UDF were the key proponents of government journalism as conceptualised by Chimombo and Chimombo (1996) (See chapter three of this thesis). Aspects of this journalism model were evident in the Chronicle and the NPL newspapers in the 1994 case study. They were also evident in the NPL newspapers during the 1999 case study. In the 1999 case study, the Chronicle had taken a decidedly opposition journalism model. The Nation and the Chronicle‟s counter-framing on the issue of national unity in the 1999 case study closely resembled that of the UDF MPs in the National Assembly. The Nation and the Chronicle took the same position taken by the UDF MPs which argued that if there was a problem with national unity, it was because the MCP had peppered over these differences and had not dealt with them effectively when the party was in power. Basically, the position was to blame the MCP for lack of national unity. Similarly, in framing the Governance Frame in 1999, the Nation and the Chronicle basically took the same position taken by the UDF which accused the MCP of being dictatorial and lacking in basic democratic values. In the Leadership Frame, the Nation and the Chronicle portrayed the new ruling elite as being beyond reproach while portraying the opposition leadership especially the MCP as being beyond redemption. This position reflected the UDF MPs position regarding the opposition leadership which they expressed through the Failed Government Frame.

242 Thus, in 1994, the Nation and the Chronicle did not find any good in the opposition for as long as they continued to oppose the UDF. The framing made it clear that the only way the opposition could find legitimacy was through agreeing to a large extent with the UDF‟s agenda for the country. In that way the two newspapers lent themselves to the UDF course without critically analysing the opposite view. In the 1999 case study, the NPL newspapers continued to take a government journalism position. However, the newspapers were less strident in this respect than they had been in the 1994 case study. Even though less strident, the theme remained the same. The newspapers basically blamed the opposition for the election violence. The newspapers accused the opposition for lacking in political tolerance labelling them as bad losers. In the Electoral Process Frame, the NPL newspapers conceded that the election had been mismanaged but they still urged the opposition to accept the outcome of the elections. In the Consequences Frame, the one frame that attempted to analyse what Malawians could expect after the return to power of the UDF, the NPL newspapers had nothing to say and did not offer any analysis of the economic challenges facing Malawi since the UDF took over in 1994. In essence, the frames emerging out of the Nation and the Chronicle‟s corpus, reflect strong leanings towards the ruling the UDF elites. As chapter four and chapter five have demonstrated, the NPL newspapers seemed to have taken their lead from the ruling party politicians. This was also true for the Chronicle regarding the 1994 post election period. The influence of the owners in this respect cannot be ignored. The owner of the Nation, Aleke Banda, was the First Deputy President of the UDF and a senior cabinet minister in the UDF government. In the UDF hierarchy, he was the second highest ranked UDF official after its president, Bakili Muluzi. Therefore, it is not surprising that the Nation, in this case study, used the “government” journalism

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