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Politics and precarious professionalism; how political and economic factors affect media and shape journalism cultures in emerging democracies.

Ndawana, Y (2023) Politics and precarious professionalism; how political and economic factors affect media and shape journalism cultures in emerging democracies. Doctoral thesis, Liverpool John Moores University.

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This thesis responds to the call by scholars, notably Shaw (2009) and Chama (2014), among others, on the need for more empirical research on journalism in the Global South, particularly Sub-Saharan Africa. To this end, it focuses on professional journalism cultures and their precarities, the influence on the depiction of politics in the news, and reporting politics in democracies. The presence of precarious professionalism is a significant facet of journalism not adequately uncovered in previous research. The thesis illustrates Zambian journalism’s role within this political space and how ownership, control, environmental and operational factors affect the profession. It further explores Zambian journalism from a contemporary-historical perspective, allowing for a thorough analysis and understanding of critical factors determining its character. To achieve this, my research is centrally organised around journalism culture (Hanitzsch et al., 2011; Hanusch and Hanitzsch, 2017). It examines journalism cultures in the Global North but more so in the Global South (Matthews and Onyemaobi, 2020), applying existing African journalism models (Kasoma, 1986; Nyamnjoh, 2005; Shaw, 2009) and considering how this help explain Zambian journalism practice and journalism culture.
Additionally, I apply public sphere theories (Dahlgren and Sparks, 1993; Habermas, 1991) and the political economy of communication (Mosco, 2009). The latter helped assess the effects of political and economic factors on Zambian journalism, while the former helped evaluate journalism's role in the public discourse of politics. Using these analytical frameworks, I consider journalism’s representation of politics in Zambia among journalists and media outlets as I build upon previous research by Chama (2014) and Hamusokwe (2015), among others. With Zambia as my case study, I use a multi-method approach that includes interviews and textual analysis of selected media texts using NVivo qualitative analytical software. These approaches helped produce essential insights into the nature of journalism cultures, practices and how these reflect in media texts. This study shows that ownership continues influencing journalism practice and culture in Zambia. It exposes polarised pluralism present within journalism along partisan lines. The study also reveals ongoing tensions between journalism and politics in Zambia, resulting in precarious professionalism for journalists (Matthews and Onyemaobi, 2020).
Further, the thesis establishes the presence of nuanced journalism practices that do not easily fit within specific models but identify with several traits from known models. This thesis contributes to understanding global journalism and media studies broadly but more specifically about journalism cultures and practices within democracies at the national level, in this case, Zambia. It further contributes to understanding ongoing tensions between the state and journalism and how this affects professional journalism. It will be of interest to journalism and media scholars as well as those interested in political sciences, among others.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Political economy; Journalism; Democracy; Journalism Culture; Zambia; Politics; Media; Political Communication
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN4699 Journalism
Divisions: Humanities & Social Science
SWORD Depositor: A Symplectic
Date Deposited: 29 Aug 2023 10:04
Last Modified: 29 Aug 2023 10:04
DOI or ID number: 10.24377/LJMU.t.00020741
Supervisors: Knowles, J and Vaughan, C
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/20741
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