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Manufacturing the Liberal Media Model Through Developmentality in Malawi

Media, Development and Democracy

ISBN: 978-1-80043-493-6, eISBN: 978-1-80043-492-9

Publication date: 8 December 2021


When questioning the relationship between media, development, and democracy, especially in the ill-defined “Global South,” it’s important to go beyond the commonly held meta-narratives that frame these concepts as common sense. In a quest to investigate alternative characterizations of these terms, this chapter uses Ghanaian political economist Lord Mawuko-Yevugah’s (2014) theoretical framework of “developmentality” to explain how development has been used as an ideological instrument to promote the Western liberal media model in the “Global South.” Using a case study of Malawi, which is heavily dependent on foreign aid from the same countries who have defined and promoted this liberal media model aboard, raises important questions about a media model that is characterized by high objectivity and political neutrality on one side, but subjects countries to high levels of competition and free market principles on the other. By outlining the temporal sequence of events that have unfolded since the arrival of missionary media in the 1800s, the presence of international donors and the rise in non-governmental organizations, this chapter reveals how certain ideologies and practices have been legitimized through development to preserve the unequal balance of power between the “Global South” and their former colonial powers.



Harris, S.T.G. (2021), "Manufacturing the Liberal Media Model Through Developmentality in Malawi", Pait, H. and Laet, J. (Ed.) Media, Development and Democracy (Studies in Media and Communications, Vol. 22), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 23-44.



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