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Media in "Democratic" Zambia: Problems and Prospects

Isaac Phiri
Africa Today
Vol. 46, No. 2 (Spring, 1999), pp. 53-65
Published by: Indiana University Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4187267
Page Count: 13
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Media in "Democratic" Zambia: Problems and Prospects
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Abstract

Zambia's transition to multiparty politics in 1991 has not led to significant changes in state-media relations. There was a brief period (just before and soon after 1991) when it appeared that the media would become an independent influence in a democratic environment. But any movement in that direction has been thwarted by the continued state control of the country's major news establishments. The independent media is weak due to a hostile political and legal environment and severe economic conditions. The ability of the independent press to contribute effectively to democratic discourse is further constrained by its failure to live up to the professional role of the press in pluralist politics. This paper examines the factors that have incapacitated the media and proposes that the same local and international civil society organizations that precipitated the 1991 transition to multiparty politics must again be mobilized to bring about a lasting transformation of state-media relations in Zambia.

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