Journalistic Framing of Electoral Conflict in a Politically Fragile Society: A Comparative Study of the Zimbabwean Weekly Press

Stanley Tsarwe, Admire Mare

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

An analysis of Zimbabwean journalists' framing of the country's 2008 and 2013 elections points to interesting insights on electoral and conflict reporting. Qualitative content analysis of articles from three Zimbabwean weekly newspapers that covered these elections showed the press as tacitly and overtly willing agents in fanning political violence by perpetuating social and political polarisation through acts of omission and commission. Private and public media journalists took “positioned” reporting styles and propagated hate speech, name-calling and propaganda, which mirrored key aspects of “war-like journalism”. While five years later, in 2013, the elections were less politically charged, the weekly press continued to publish hate speech, name-calling and counter-accusations against the “other”. We argue that “peace journalism” practices can help neutralise political violence and socio-political polarisation, while depolarisation of political and economic forces behind Zimbabwean mainstream press cannot be overemphasised.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18-35
Number of pages18
JournalAfrican Journalism Studies
Volume40
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2019

Keywords

  • Conflict
  • framing
  • hate speech
  • peace journalism
  • propaganda
  • war journalism
  • Zimbabwe

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication

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