Research - Media Monitoring Project

Interim reports by the Media Monitoring Project (MMP) of the Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR), whose data was collected by media students at the Malawi Institute of Journalism (MIJ) and the Malawi Polytechnic and analysed by Professors Ivor Gaber of City University London and Edrinnie Kayambazinthu of Chancellor College, indicates that the print media had reported the political party campaign and the events leading up to the elections and the polls, with reasonable fairness.

June 19th, 2014

Interim reports by the Media Monitoring Project (MMP) of the Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR), whose data was collected by media students at the Malawi Institute of Journalism (MIJ) and the Malawi Polytechnic and analysed by Professors Ivor Gaber of City University London and Edrinnie Kayambazinthu of Chancellor College, indicates that the print media had reported the political party campaign and the events leading up to the elections and the polls, with reasonable fairness.

However, MMP notes that the coverage was somewhat limited with regard to the themes covered and the issues raised. The MMP also describes as ``worrisome’’ conduct of the state broadcaster, the MBC in initially devoting some 90% of coverage to President Banda and the ruling party while giving only 10% to other candidates, although this was reduced to about 70%.

Overall media coverage was seen to favour reports on the presidential candidates – nearly 40% of reports – with 11% to parliamentary candidates and a little more than 1% to local ward candidates. While this criticism was justified to a degree, it appears that those critical of the allocation of space according to these percentages did not take into account the news values of the three areas of coverage. It was to be expected that the major interest in the mind of the public – and thus of the editors – was the presidency and how the four main contenders, Dr Banda of PP, Peter Mutharika of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), Lazarus Chakwera of the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and Atupele Muluzi of the United Democratic Front (UDF), were faring for the highest office in the land. The same reasoning applied to the two other elections.

Contacts

  • 1 Hood Avenue/148 Jan Smuts; Rosebank, GP 2196; South Africa
  • T. +27 (0)11 587 5000
  • F. +27 (0)11 587 5099