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Framing corruption narratives in Zimbabwe: A critical review of the Zimdef corruption scandal as portrayed in Zimbabwean newspapers

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In the modern world, the media has become an important tool for shaping public discourse. Although it is not clear to what extent public opinion is shaped by media frames, there is no doubt that the media plays an important role in providing information to the public and influencing the way in which reality is perceived. This article critically analyses the framing of corruption narratives in Zimbabwean newspapers through the prism of framing theory. Scholars have long established that news disseminated by the media is not necessarily neutral information but frames and/or ideological perspectives of news organizations and/or journalists. When news organizations report news, they do so from a certain perspective, guided by the policies and interests of the media organization and its sponsors. Post-2000 Zimbabwe has faced an unprecedented economic/political crisis that has arguably created a conducive atmosphere for corruption. This article focuses on the Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund (Zimdef) corruption scandal of 2016 in which the then Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Professor Jonathan Moyo, was implicated. The objective is, first, to determine how corruption is framed in Zimbabwean newspapers, and second to critically analyse the different frames of the Zimdef corruption scandal as presented by selected newspapers. The results of the analysis show that newspapers in Zimbabwe frame corruption as a moral issue with economic consequences and suspects of corruption are often framed as morally bankrupt criminals.
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Keywords: Jonathan Moyo; Mugabe; frames; moral; politician; post-2000 Zimbabwe

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of the Free State

Publication date: March 1, 2018

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UA-1313315-26
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