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Framing the China-Malawi Story: A Content Analysis of Stories Published by Nation Publications in Malawi

Temwani Mgunda


Since China and Malawi established diplomatic ties in 2008, China-Malawi bilateral relations feature regularly and prominently in the Malawian media. The local media have shown interest from the controversy surrounding how Malawi dumped Taiwan in favour of China to how the two countries are currently conducting their diplomatic relations. This study seeks to analyse how and why one of Malawi’s leading media houses, the privateowned Nation Publications Limited (NPL), reports the China-Malawi story. Two hundred twenty-one reports on China-Malawi bilateral relations in news stories, features, and opinion articles were collected from four NPL news platforms, namely The Nation, Weekend Nation, Nationon Sunday and Nation Online. Each media report was examined thoroughly using content analysis to examine how NPL employs the five popular media frames of conflict, attribution of responsibility, morality, economic and human interest when the media house reports the bilateral relations between Malawi and China. The findings show that NPL mainly uses the economic frame while morality is the least used. The results  further reveal that NPL frames the China-Malawi story to promote a meaningful win-win scenario between Malawi and China.