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

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

245 new ruling elite,

245 new ruling elite, especially the new president, this was only done through a progressive revision taken against the candidacy of new President Bingu wa Mutharika. In fact, support for Mutharika was only given as the new president‟s economic agenda took shape. The success of the “national interest” journalism model in 2004 can be explained in terms of the loss of influence of political parties over the newspapers. In other words, ownership of newspapers had either given up its political interests or ownership that had no political interests had taken over. In the case of the NPL newspapers, Aleke Banda had left the UDF. At the BNL newspapers, the family of the late Dr. Banda had taken over, severing all political ties with the MCP. The Chronicle‟s adoption of the “national interest” model reflects Rob Jamieson‟s disillusionment with the UDF‟s record on human rights and freedom of expression. In 2004 therefore, the newspapers under study enjoyed relative editorial independence from political influence. This, in turn, permitted the newspapers to look back objectively at the UDF‟s record, to progressively examine the emergence of Mutharika as the UDF‟s presidential candidate and to critically assess Mutharika‟s economic agenda as observed in the Leadership Frame of that case study. All of this could not have been possible under the political economy milieu presented by the 1994 and 1999 case studies. Journalism in the national interest was reflected by the frames that emerged from the newspapers corpus in 2004. The Challenges Frame in the 2004 case study was a candid analysis of the economic challenges facing the nation in the face of deteriorating economic conditions. The human impact aspect of the frame focused the issue on national suffering rather than narrow partisan interests. The Leadership Frame examined the emergence of Mutharika while progressively revising its assessment of the new

246 president. The Electoral Process Frame remained harshly critical of the UDF and the MEC for poorly managing the elections that brought Mutharika to power. Another feature of “national interest” journalism was the fact that the press seemed to have greatly influenced the National Assembly. As noted in chapter six, the MPs extensively quoted the newspapers‟ editorials in presenting their arguments on the National Assembly floor. This was unlike in the previous case studies when the editorial writers tended to follow the lead of relevant politicians. That the “national interest” model emerged at a time when the owners of these newspapers had either politically re-aligned or there had been change of ownership is not to be dismissed. With the proprietor having left the UDF, the NPL newspapers did not seem have any reason to continue to tow the UDF‟s party-line. The same thing can be noted for the new owners at the BNL newspapers. The new proprietors at the BNL signalled their intent to sever ties with the MCP by removing the board which was chaired by John Tembo. 8.2 Reflections on Theoretical Implications: A Framing Model What then does the study tell us about the process of framing in Malawi? What are the decisive and fundamental factors which ensure the production of the emergent frames detected in this study? How do these factors interact or connect to each in order to produce these frames? Is there a system that can be constructed by observing these factors at work? The study has revealed that the field of political communication in Malawi is dominated by six major factors. The interaction of these factors with each other, as demonstrated in Appendix VII, affects the way political issues are framed in the press.

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