Press and Politics in Trinidad and Tobago: 2000 - 2010


  • Indrani Bachan-Persad The UWI, St Augustine


My research analyzes the role of the press in five political campaigns in Trinidad and Tobago(2000-2010). Using framing theory, it seeks to determine if the level of structural and partisan bias in the newspapers was a major factor in the outcome of general elections. The methodological approach of content analysis and interviews with media practitioners allows for both qualitative and quantitative analysis of case studies of electoral campaigns. The qualitative analysis focuses on Issue, Personality, Conflict, Governance and Horserace frames using a clearly defined coding system and measured to determine if they were negative, positive or objective in reportage. Qualitative analysis focussed on major themes embedded in the text of editorials and select commentaries. It proposes a new model of media and politics for countries like Trinidad and Tobago transitioning from a liberal system with strong authoritarian regimes and heavy State control of the media to a fully liberal system with a freer press as a result of deregulation in 1986 and a more democratic form of government. The paper therefore makes a case for a new model for transitioning countries called an "Emerging Liberal Democratic Model" (ELDM).


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