Press and politics in Trinidad and Tobago
: A study of five electoral campaigns over ten years, 2000-2010

  • Indrani Bachan-Persad

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy

    Abstract

    This thesis analyzes the role of the press in five political campaigns in Trinidad and Tobago, over a ten year period, from 2000 to 2010. Using framing theory, it seeks to determine if the level of structural and partisan bias in the three daily newspapers in the country was a major factor in the outcome of general elections.

    This thesis further examines how press coverage of national elections contributed significantly towards development of a healthy democracy in Trinidad and Tobago and this research on media and politics, especially over a defined period of electoral volatility in the country, is the first of its kind in the Caribbean and will complement existing literature written on this subject worldwide. It is also the only comprehensive study on media bias in electoral coverage of political campaigns in Trinidad and Tobago in a context in which there have been public allegations of media bias by political leaders in the country.

    The two - pronged methodological approach of content analysis, and interviews with media practitioners allow for both qualitative and quantitative analysis of case studies of electoral campaigns using innovative research tools such as a bias scale and coding template, to minimize the margin of error in the analysis. In this thesis the issue of whether the press did have an influential effect on election outcome is also explored. Based on analysis and findings, this thesis proposes a new model of media and politics for countries like Trinidad and Tobago transitioning from a system of authoritarianism to liberalism called an “emerging liberal democratic model”. The evolution of this model is a work in progress which may have implications for other similar societies
    Date of Award2012
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • Coventry University
    SupervisorFred Mudhai (Supervisor) & Bhoendradatt Tewarie (Supervisor)

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