This paper examines the role media plays in polarising views and escalating tension. The cases studied reflect the competing perspectives on Chinese engagement in Zambia, from the courtship of Chinese investment to rising anti-Chinese sentiment. Based on a comparative media analysis of English and Mandarin news articles about the ZAFFICO and COVID-19 discrimination controversies, we argue that the multi-layered polarisation in Zambia’s media landscape amplifies existing identity-conflicts. Framing—the tone, word choice, and selection of detail—in articles changes with the positionality of the media outlet and shapes the discourse around the cases. Sensationalisation, misinformation, and divergent frames contribute to conflict between different identity groups, which is capitalised on in a divisive political environment. The media facilitates blackboxing and us vs. them thinking which often precede conflict. The ‘other’ that appears in the Zambian media landscape includes ‘China/the Chinese’, ‘the opposition’, and ‘the ruling Patriotic Front’.
Mazurova, Nicole; Tsao, Pokai; and Chisholm Jr., Taurence
"Media Analysis of Conflict in Chinese-Zambian Engagement: From ZAFFICO to the COVID-19 Discrimination Controversy,"
Southern African Journal of Policy and Development: Vol. 5:
2, Article 5.
Available at: https://scholarship.law.cornell.edu/sajpd/vol5/iss2/5