An evaluation of the media coverage on corruption issues in Zambia: a comparative study of the Zambian National Broadcasting Corporation(ZNBC TV1) and MUVI Television
Chulu, Emmanuel Charles
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There is a growing concern in Zambia over what many media personnel regard as news worthy stories and in particular corruption-related stories. Many argue that the media would rather cover a political story than a news beat on corruption which is of great significance to their audience. Hence one is tempted to wonder as to whether the media deliberately ignore such stories or the ownership of a particular media house has a bearing on the type of news they cover. The aim of this study was to evaluate the media coverage on corruption issues in Zambia. The study also did a comparison of two media houses namely, the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation TV1 (ZNBC TV1) and MUVI Television to try and establish whether media ownership has any influence in the way corruption stories are covered in Zambia. A number of both qualitative and quantitative methods were used in this study including in-depth interviews, quantitative interviews and content analysis of corruption-related news and discussion programmes on both MUVI TV and ZNBC TV1 from January to April 2017. The research findings revealed that the media is a key stakeholder in the fight against corruption. However, regardless of their status as agenda setters, the media especially the state owned ZNBC TV1 have failed to match the people’s expectations in the fight against corruption. Being the national broadcaster, the expectations are that ZNBC TV1 should work closely with the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) in following up on corruption cases and to provide feedback to the Zambian community. MUVI TV has been an alternative for many local viewers but it also is limited to only those who are able to buy a decoder and can manage to pay subscription fees to access its content. This means that those who cannot afford to buy the MUVI TV decoder have to rely on the National broadcaster for information and if they do not cover any corruption stories then the society will believe that corruption is not an issue in Zambia. According to the findings from this research, ZNBC TV1 only showed corruption-related news when the victim was not a government official or someone who had fallen out of favour with the government like the former Information and Broadcast Minister, Dr Chishimba Kambwili. The research findings also showed a link between media ownership and corruption reporting. It was clearly revealed that the state owned ZNBC TV did not report on any senior government official found wanting because it was government owned and funded by the government for its operations.
The University of Zambia