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

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

257 Other deeply

257 Other deeply contested democratic values included justice and popular sovereignty. The newspapers corpus in 1999 and 2004 bitterly protested the MEC‟s mismanagement of the elections claiming it was an infringement on the people‟s right to choose their leaders. In 2004 in particular, the press expressed unhappiness with the judiciary‟s conduct regarding the opposition‟s complaint on the management of the elections. In this respect, the UDF and the MEC were identified as particularly lacking in fairness which is a central aspect of democracy. Clearly, the press and the National Assembly placed democratic and traditional values at the heart of their frames. This is something that Marcinkowski (2006) argued is common in the framing of political communication. Marcinkowski (2006, p.387) argued that the press and parliaments in democratic nations tend to view themselves as guardians of democratic values. 8.3.2 Metaphors and Cultural Resonance The framing of leadership in both parliamentary and newspapers corpora revealed the use of metaphors as frame tools. The framing of leadership in both parliamentary and newspaper corpora and across case studies revealed extensive use of these. Thus, new presidents (Muluzi and Mutharika) were described in metaphors that enhanced their statue as democratic and competent leaders. However, outgoing presidents and their administrations suffered through the use of metaphors as well in the press and the National Assembly. In the case of the late Dr. Hastings Kamuzu Banda, metaphors were used that described him as authoritarian and uninterested in the welfare of the people in 1994. The press and the National Assembly used metaphors that described Dr. Muluzi and his administration as incompetent and corrupt.

258 Perhaps one of the most striking things about the use of these metaphors is that most were biblical metaphors. This added a religious element to the framing process especially in the National Assembly. As religion is a significant aspect of the culture prevalent in Malawi, it is not surprising that framers drew on religion to add resonance to their frames. Frame scholars (Chong & Druckman, 2007, p.100; Snow & Benford, 1988, p.210; Entman, 2004, p.14-17; Goffman, 1974) are in agreement that frames must be culturally relevant to have a chance of success. Chong and Druckman (2007, p.100) note that frames must “. . . resonate with cultural narrations, stories, myths and folk tales that are part and parcel of one‟s cultural heritage.” Entman (2004, p.6) argues that frames which use these aspects are: “. . . noticeable, understandable, memorable, and emotionally charged” for maximum influence. The frames were primed to resonate with not only the cultural societal values of Malawians but also the new political culture prevailing in Malawi. Having done away with the single party system of politics, politicians of all shades were anxious to avoid being associated with the excesses of that era. Expressing support for individual human rights and openness in government became culturally fashionable from a political culture point of view. 8.4 Bias and Political Binaries The study has also revealed the bifurcated nature of political discourse in Malawi especially during the 1994 and 1999 case studies. All the frames in 1994 and 1999 were presented by a political party or allied political parties with the aim of negatively portraying a rival political party. These political binaries were reflected in the relevant newspapers. Entman (2010, p. 334) argues that bias takes three forms. The first is distortion which falsifies reality. The second is content bias which takes the form of

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