Tendai Joseph Chari is a senior lecturer in the Media Studies Department, School of Human and Social Sciences, University of Venda, South Africa. He holds a PhD in Media Studies from the University of Witwatersrand, South Africa, and a Master’s in Media and Communication Studies from the University of Zimbabwe. Dr. Chari is widely published in the field of Media Studies and his research interests span a number of specializations, such as political communication, environmental communication, media and development, media ethics, and new media and society. Some of his publications have appeared in the Journal of African Media Studies, African Identities, Communication: South African Journal for Communication Theory and Research, Ecquid Novi: Journal of African Media Studies, and the Journal on Media and Communications. His latest publication, “Rethinking Climate Change Communication Strategies: The Case for Indigenous Media” in Indilinga – African Journal of Indigenous Knowledge Systems, gives a critical appraisal of current practices on climate change communication and advocates for the fusion of indigenous modes of communication and the mass media in generating deeper knowledge on climate change in Africa. He has presented at over forty-five local and international conferences in over thirty-three countries. Dr. Chari is an active member of the Academic and Non-Fiction Authors’ Association of South Africa (ANFASA). He serves on the editorial boards of international academic journals such as the Western Journal of Mass Communication, Journal on Media and Communications (JMC), and DOT-Comm Journal based in the Czech Republic. Previously, he served as the Chairman of the Zimbabwe Television (ZTV), was a board member of the Zimbabwe Broadcast Holdings (ZBH) (2004-2006), as well as a member of the Media Commission (MIC) in Zimbabwe (2007-2008).
This research project is a qualitative investigation of Zimbabwean diaspora reporting of political negotiations leading to the formation of the Zimbabwean Government of National Unity in order to gain deeper insights on the role of diaspora media in homeland conflicts. The negotiations involved the ruling party, Zanu PF and two factions of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and took place between July and September 2008. An understanding of the representative practices in the diaspora media outlets, their sources and sourcing patterns provides an opportunity to decipher the complex interactions between the diaspora media and political actors in homeland conflicts. The study employs Michel Foucault's Discourse Theory approach as a lens for analysing both archival and interview data. The study essentially a study of texts, the socio-political and economic conditions which shape these texts and the rationale of the reporting strategies employed by the Zimbabwean diaspora media during conflicts back home. In order to gain a deeper understanding of the meaning of these texts, attention will also be focused on the producers of these texts (journalists and editors) since texts by their nature do not reveal everything. Empirical data will be drawn from a corpus of selected archival hard news and feature articles published in five Zimbabwean diaspora media. In addition, interviews will be conducted with key representatives of the diaspora media outlets in order to generate insights on the rationale for their representation strategies in reporting homeland conflicts. Findings will generate insights useful in developing conflict prevention policy and strategies as well as enhancing peace journalism initiatives in Africa.