Press Freedom in Zambia: A Study of "The Post" Newspaper and Professional Practice in Political Context

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press freedom, independent press, online press, regulation of the press, The Post, tabloid, journalism Zambia


This study investigates press freedom in the political context of Zambia by looking at The Post, a daily tabloid that operates in the country. It involves in-depth interviews with tabloid journalists working or having worked with the tabloid mainly in the area of reporting politics. It involves a literature review in the broader subject area and notes that, even though press freedom is the life blood of any democratic society which needs to be enhanced, there are other complexities that hinder its realisation, including ownership interests, tabloid journalists’ predilections, advertisers’ influence, political authorities’ expectations, and readers’ social and economic positions. In addition, despite the general public’s expectations and the press’s ardent quest for press freedom, the conception and understanding of press freedom in democracy is far from straight forward. The research found that The Post was incapable of contributing effectively to the maturity of democracy. Its level of credibility as a tabloid was compromised by joining ranks with ruling politicians. Its traditional watchdog role of exposing political and social elites to public accountability was also suppressed due to political partnership. In addition, citizens needed to consider seriously online journalism as it provided information at the expense of The Post which was no longer vocal in these domains. Government too needed to provide favorable mechanisms to enhance online publishing as it was beneficial to the promotion and protection of democracy. Furthermore, the Press Association of Zambia and the Media Institute of Southern Africa needed to be more critical of government operations towards the press and needed to intensify their role in providing checks and balance on journalists to uphold their professional values.


Pilon School of Business

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Original Publication Citation

Chama, B. (2014). Press freedom in Zambia: A study of "The Post" newspaper and professional practice in political context [Doctoral thesis, University of Roehampton].


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