How on-line publishing contributes to democracy, press freedom and the public sphere : a case study of Nyasatimes online and The Daily Times newspaper in Malawi

Kakhobwe, Penelope (2009) How on-line publishing contributes to democracy, press freedom and the public sphere : a case study of Nyasatimes online and The Daily Times newspaper in Malawi. Masters thesis, Rhodes University.

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Since the demise of the Berlin Wall and communism, many African countries have adopted a Western-model democracy as a system of governance. However, the media has not been liberalised to reflect this new discourse as constraints in many African countries pertaining to press freedom still exist. The internet appears to have the potential to challenge the political power of governments (Tsagarousianou, 1998:167). It has been posited that it has the potential to offer more platforms for information especially in the case of restrictive media environments. This study set out to investigate the impact of on-line publishing in Malawi. It explored how the emergence of this new form of publishing through the internet has affected the public sphere, democracy and press freedom in Malawi. The main focus was the level of press freedom at on-line newspapers as compared to traditional newspapers. It used the public sphere theory and literature on the internet as a technology of freedom as its theoretical framework. Using a case study approach by focusing on two newspapers; Nyasatimes on-line and Daily Times, the study used the coup plot coverage in May 2008 in Malawi by both newspapers as reference for the measurement of the level of press freedom. The study used qualitative content analysis and semi-structured interviews as its research methods. The research revealed that Nyasatimes enjoys more freedom to publish and therefore appears to have more press freedom than its more traditional counterpart. However, Nyasatimes also faces some unique challenges. The findings also revealed that press freedom in Malawi is not only affected by government through legislation but other factors and players as well play a central role in determining the level of press freedom for traditional media. The study therefore concludes that despite the internet’s ability to transcend local regimes of authority and censorship pertaining to press freedom, the challenges facing traditional media still need to be addressed as it is the primary source of information for most people in Malawi with on-line newspapers being simply supplementary.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Daily Times (Malawi), Nyasatimes (Malawi), Democracy - Malawi, Freedom of the press - Malawi, Journalism - Political aspects - Malawi, Online journalism - Malawi, Electronic newspapers - Malawi, Electronic publishing - Malawi
Subjects:P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN4699 Journalism
Divisions:Faculty > Faculty of Humanities > Journalism and Media Studies
Supervisors:Kyazze, Simwogerere
ID Code:1803
Deposited By: Ms Chantel Clack
Deposited On:10 Dec 2010 07:18
Last Modified:08 Mar 2013 10:57
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