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

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

269 awareness of these

269 awareness of these provisions will empower the press against political pressure and encourage it to act responsibly in the public interest. Further, the public need to be made aware of the Journalist‟s Professional Code of Conduct and the fact that the MCM has a Complaints Committee which handles issues of accuracy and truthfulness (or lack of these). If the public are aware of this, journalists will be less tempted to cut corners with accuracy and truthfulness. 8.5.4 Diversification of Newspapers An ideal media model for Malawi should be motivated by the need to create a public sphere that is not vulnerable to state or market constraints. Thompson (1995, p.241) argued that in order to create a: . . . media that is neither part of the state or dependent on the market it is necessary to regulate market processes in such a way that diversity and pluralism are not undermined by the concentration of economic and symbolic power. For Thompson (1995, p.241) the “regulated pluralism” he is suggesting here: . . . takes seriously the traditional liberal emphasis on freedom of expression and on the importance of sustaining media institutions which are independent of state power. On the other hand, the same principle: . . . also recognises that the market left to itself will not necessarily secure the conditions of freedom of expression and promote diversity and pluralism in the sphere of communication. (p.241). This study has demonstrated the narrow partisan framing inherent in the Malawian press especially during the 1994 and 1999 case studies. One way of mitigating for this

270 problem is diversification of media ownership. The country needs truly independent newspapers are needed to provide readers with a wide range of opinions and critical analyses of events and public figures. The process of diversification of Malawian newspapers could benefit from some action from both government and the private sector. The government could encourage diversification by resisting the urge to prevent advertising in some newspapers. The government has withdrawn advertising from some newspapers as a form of punishment for being too critical against the government. The case of the BNL newspapers and the Chronicle in the period between 1998 and 2002 is illustrative as is the case of the NPL newspaper between 2008 and 2011. Further, the government could encourage advertising by removing tax on advertising. This, in turn, will make advertising cheaper and encourage advertiser. In the process, the advertising base will be extended for the benefit of newspapers. The government should also eliminate or reduce duty charged on the importation of newsprint. The import duty is something which newspapers pass on to the reader. Eliminating it will bring the cost of the newspaper down and encourage more readership. Chiyamwaka (2009) notes that media run by professional journalists in Malawi has proved to be balanced and accurate and taking care to provide critical and analytical assessments of the political issues in the country. One way of encouraging professional journalists to venture into the newspaper business is provide them with the necessary financial and management skills needed to run businesses. In this respect, the journalism training programmes in the country have a major role to play. 8.6 Areas for Further Research This study was preoccupied with attempting to detect frames in newspaper editorials and the National Assembly of Malawi and comparing those frames to establish the influence of press owners and their alignment, or lack of such alignment, to

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