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

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

243 model to frame

243 model to frame national issues. The same can be noted of the Chronicle. Rob Jamieson had been a pro-democracy activist between 1992 and 1994. He had links with the pro- democracy movements before they became political parties. After the election of 1994, it is only to be expected that for some time, the Chronicle continued to see things through the prism of the UDF. 8.1.2 Opposition Journalism The “opposition” model of journalism, as conceptualised by Chimombo and Chimombo (1996) and Chuma (2007) (see chapter 3), was extensively employed by the MCP controlled BNL newspapers in the 1994 and 1999 case studies. In the 1999 case study, the Chronicle had changed editorial policy shifting from “government” to “opposition” model. The position of the “opposition” form of journalism closely mirrored that of the MCP MPs in the National Assembly. For example, in the framing of the Unity Frame in 1999, the BNL newspapers took a position that basically blamed the ideology of multiparty politics and the UDF for lack of national unity. This was the exact position expressed by the MCP/AFORD alliance MPs in the National Assembly. In the Leadership Frame, the BNL newspapers blamed the UDF‟s leadership for lacking in unify abilities and attempting to marginalise the MCP in national politics. In essence, the ruling UDF was blamed for everything that was wrong with the country. The future of the nation was located away from the UDF. In fact, the BNL newspapers argued that only the opposition could take Malawi to a better future. In 1999, the Chronicle joined the BNL newspapers in using opposition journalism as a way of framing national political issues. The Unity Frame basically blamed the UDF for failing to act in a unifying manner. It blamed the UDF leadership for using

244 divisive rhetoric when celebrating their victory in the 1999 election. The Electoral Process Frame was even harsher in its criticism of the UDF. The newspapers accused the UDF of conspiring with the MEC to defraud Malawians at the polls. In essence, the Chronicle and the BNL newspapers found the UDF guilty for causing all the problems in the post election period. Further, the newspapers accused the UDF of lacking a plan to solve these problems. Indeed, as in the 1994 case study, the future of the nation was seen to be with the opposition while the UDF was portrayed as simply interested in staying in power even at the expense of democracy. In short, as chapter four and five has demonstrated, these newspapers took their cues from the opposition leaders both inside and outside parliament. The ownership factor cannot be dismissed at all here. The BNL newspapers belonged to Dr. Hastings Kamuzu Banda, president of the MCP. Further, the board at the controlling company, the Blantyre Print and Publishing Company Ltd, was chaired by John Tembo who was the Treasurer-General of the MCP. It is not surprising that in 1994 and 1999 the BNL newspapers could adopt the “opposition” journalism model. Rob Jamieson‟s disillusionment with the UDF‟s record on freedom of expression seems to have driven the Chronicle towards a more opposition form of editorial line. As Cammack (2000) notes, Jamieson was clearly at odds with the UDF by the time of the 1999 elections. 8.1.3 “National interest” Journalism The third category of the press was the “national interest” journalism, as observed in the 2004 case study across all the newspapers and conceptualised by Chuma (2007) and Chimombo and Chimombo (1996) (See chapter 3). The model of journalism attempted to analyse national issues beyond the mirror opposites of the “opposition” and “government” journalism models. Even though, the newspapers generally supported the

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