Local (Self)-Governance and Media as Pillars of Democracy : The Case of Southern African Nations

Research output: Conference PapersRGC 32 - Refereed conference paper (without host publication)peer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2021


Title2021 International Association for Media and Communication Research Conference (IAMCR 2021)
LocationOnline Conference
Period11 - 15 July 2021


Decentralization is frequently presented as an essential practice in terms of the democratic consolidation of a country. In that sense, decentralization is a crucial process for African countries with weak democratic systems in comparison to developed democracies in the West. Scholars from the field of political science and development studies usually argue that developed systems of local (self)-governance present a solid basis for democratic consolidation on a national level. Since it is a tier that is closest to citizens, it is hypothesized that based on a trust in the elected local council, it is possible to predict the trust in national democratic institutions, such as the national assembly and national electoral commission.
Even though local councils have existed in most countries on the African continent ever since colonial days, most of them were and still are perceived as a political threat to the national governments. Therefore, there is a trend of state authorities limiting their power. However, that is not necessarily the case in Southern Africa. Besides the rapid urbanization rates, the Southern African countries have better scores than the rest of African nations when it comes to the levels of media and press freedom. Considering those facts, it is to expect that citizens of these countries will have more access to the different media outlets and that they will consume more news than the average person in the rest of Africa will.
In the first part of the article, the direct effect of local governments and media's democratization potential, emphasizing the contextual situation in Southern Africa, on trust in national democratic institutions is considered. Furthermore, the moderation effects of news consumption are tested later. Regression analysis is performed in order to test the proposed hypotheses in the model. These assumptions are tested using the data collected from eleven countries from the Southern African region (Botswana, eSwatini, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia, and Zimbabwe) by Afrobarometer, which provides high quality survey data.

Research Area(s)

  • local governments, democratization, news-consumption, political trust, Southern Africa

Bibliographic Note

Information for this record is supplemented by the author(s) concerned.

Citation Format(s)

Local (Self)-Governance and Media as Pillars of Democracy: The Case of Southern African Nations. / Moskovljevic, Milos; Masood, Muhammad.
2021. 19-20 Paper presented at 2021 International Association for Media and Communication Research Conference (IAMCR 2021), Nairobi, Kenya.

Research output: Conference PapersRGC 32 - Refereed conference paper (without host publication)peer-review