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Communication policy in Zimbabwe: A case study of the impact of nationalist liberation ideologies on discourses of national transformation

Chifamba, Heaven C. (1992) Communication policy in Zimbabwe: A case study of the impact of nationalist liberation ideologies on discourses of national transformation. PhD thesis, Murdoch University.

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Abstract

This case study examines the nature and origin of Zimbabwe's communication policy with particular reference to ideologies of both European settler and African nationalisms. Initial emphasis is consequently placed on the impact of the seven-year guerrilla war on the character of current ideological issues pertinent to postcolonial discourses on national transformation.

Also examined are claims by government that the mass media in Zimbabwe enjoy freedom of expression and that expansion of communications infrastructure to hitherto neglected areas has improved access. Evidence collected fails to support all these claims but, quite the contrary, suggests a significant cultural struggle. In this respect African elites through the mechanism of government are overtly concerned with controlling the cultural sphere and, in particular, the mass media with the express aim of entrenching, widening and strengthening their political legitimacy.

The picture that, therefore, emerges is that the Zimbabwe government is inordinately concerned with control of the mass media and other information channels. The result is that the evolution of a democratic and independent media has been severely eroded tarnishing that very legitimacy. There is a direct correlation between, on the one hand, perceived threats to legitimacy and, on the other hand, further loss of legitimacy tending towards total breakdown of the body polity. The wider population's perception of the media reveals that the government's credibility has steadily returned to pre-independence mistrust in the last five years.

The study relied on a variety of data collection methods which include: evaluation of public and private documents, extensive interviews with public media officials, members of the general public and private media executives, questionnaire surveys of defined populations and content analysis of both broadcast and print media from contemporary and archival sources.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Humanities
Notes: Note to the author: If you would like to make your thesis openly available on Murdoch University Library's Research Repository, please contact: repository@murdoch.edu.au. Thank you.
Supervisor(s): Mansfield, Alan
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/50893
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