Studies of the media in Angola have been recent and very few, and have focused more on the general aspects of public media performances and how they interplay with Angolan politics and society. Public service broadcasting (PSB) has been included in these researches only as part of the media and rarely researched separately, despite its strong impact in this country. There have been no studies on PSB audiences or public broadcasting’s role in giving a voice to voiceless people. The long period (27 years) of civil war that commenced immediately after independence from Portuguese colonialism (1975) is acknowledged as the main reason for the scarcity of academic studies.
This thesis, then, focuses on the perceptions of Angolan audiences regarding the role of their public service broadcasting as a catalyst for Angolan nation-building in this post-war society. From the constructivist perspective of nation-building as a project always in process, Angola’s post-war society, with its diversity of tribes, languages, races, ethnicity and traditions, is an example of such a nation in process.
Three methodologies are used in this investigation: first, qualitative content analysis (QCA) evaluating samples of content from the News at 8pm both on Public Service Television and Angolan National Radio and the TV talk show Domingo a Muangolé; second, interviews with journalists to gain a perspective on the elitist idea of Angolan nation-building in Angolan PSB; and third, focus group discussions with sample audience members, to understand what Angolan PSB audiences expect and perceive from these media in view of their nation in construction, evaluating how their daily life is addressed by these broadcasters.
The thesis found that Angolan PSB was doing less than expected in terms of addressing audiences’ stories. Conversely, the broadcast content highlighted a more elite vision of the nation. The Angolan PSB is in a process of transformation, as is the whole country at all levels (law, governance, and justice sectors), but this research found that audiences still expected the PSB to be an important tool to help the country build up a sense of national identity and belonging after the war. While the programmes studied were attempting to do this, their perspective was mainly limited to urban life and they presented a government-approved picture of the society. The disconnect between News at 8pm and its audiences’ needs and expectations is the main challenge that Angolan PSB has to deal with in the context of post-war nation building and present-day Angolan society.