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The sustainability of a free press in Zambia’s Third Republic: a case of the Zambia Daily Mail and The Post newspapers.

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This study sets out to explore the sustainability of a free press in Zambia. The main objective is to contribute to the debate on factors affecting the political and economic sustainability, advertising in particular and independence of newspapers in a small media market. For this purpose, the study uses a case of the Zambia Daily Mail and The Post newspapers. Using political economy analysis, the thesis uncovers the nature and form of the media system; the factors influencing the independence and freedom of the press; the type, the extent, resources required for the sustainability of a free press and the role and impact of policy interventions for creating an enabling environment for a free press in Zambia. The thesis acknowledges that global transformations are pushing media systems around the world towards the liberal system of market-driven de-regulated, convergence and commercialism. Similar claims are made that, like any other, the Zambian media market is not immune to these trends, and is in transition to integrate with the global trends. It, however, stresses that the degree and extent to these transformations varies from region to region, and country to country. However, irrespective of some signs of evidence of this transformation, Zambia is a small country with a small media market, subjecting it to different influences from affluent Western countries. It has therefore been argued that country-specific conditions in the media and communication environment such as a country’s media and communications infrastructure, and more rudimentary characteristics including market size, growth rate, profitability and competition should be taken into consideration. In this vein, the thesis also contends that the influence of the global trends in the political economy of communication on the Zambian media system has not been subjected to adequate academic examination. In fact, this observation is extended to most third world African countries. As a result, this has led such countries to either be left in the margins or be subjected to sweeping generalisations made about Western societies. Therefore, the thesis advocates evidence-based approaches for conceptualising the political economy of communication.


Doctoral Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.