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Title:Tabloid TV in Zambia: a reception study of Lusaka viewers of Muvi TV news
Authors:Wasserman, HermanISNI
Mbatha, Loisa
Periodical:Journal of African Media Studies (ISSN 1751-7974)
Geographic term:Zambia
private enterprises
mass communication
Abstract:The tabloid news genre has been chastized for depoliticizing its public by causing cynicism about the democratic process and lowering the standards of rational public discourse. Counter-arguments point to the alternative public sphere offered by popular media such as 'tabloid TV' which is the focus of this article. The 'tabloid TV' genre is relatively new in Zambia and in the African context in general. The article sets out to examine the rapid rise in popularity of the Zambian private television station, Muvi TV. It examines Muvi TV's main evening news as an example of the 'tabloid TV' news genre vis--vis the criticisms levelled against tabloidization. The article presents results from a reception study of viewers in the capital city, Lusaka. A three-stage qualitative study was carried out, consisting of a thematic/content analysis of news bulletins, focus groups and individual, semi-structured interviews. The findings suggest that audiences attach greater credibility to Muvi TV's news broadcasts than those of the public broadcaster, the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC). As such, Muvi TV can be seen to fulfil a political function despite its sensationalized approach Bibliogr., notes [Journal abstract]