Resources - Media Analysis

Media Monitoring Africa releases periodic media analysis pieces looking at current issues in the media though a human rights lens.

Exposing Women in the Media

For the last three years the MMP has observed that a few weeks before National Women’s Day on the 9th of August there is a dramatic increase in coverage of women and issues perceived as pertinent to women. The majority of items are usually more analytical and deal with a range of issues and subjects from violence against women to the role of women in society and business. In spite of the worrying aspect that women tend only to get such substantial coverage a few weeks before and after National Women’s day the trend is at least positive in that it displays a level of commitment from the various media to deal with and represent women in more interesting, diverse and equitable ways.

Children at Face Value

The Sowetan Sunday World (SSW from now on) yesterday (15/07/01) carried a story about a seven-year-old boy child who had been disfigured in a fire. They published a close-up picture of the child and identified him by name. The headline was “Give me a Gun.” A note below the picture and the headline stated, “We publish this picture of Oscar Hadebe knowing it might open us to accusations of insensitivity. We want to illustrate the plight of this beautiful child and appeal for help. The R96 000 already donated is not enough for Oscar’s plastic surgery. Sowetan Sunday World pledge R1000 to Oscar’s trust fund. We urge you to join us. - Editor”

e-news advert - The way advertising news should not be

Last night e-tv launched their new one hour news programme. There were many positive elements and changes to the programme for which e-tv are to be commended. Unfortunately the launch was heralded with a highly problematic print media advert depicting dead bodies. The advert makes use of what would conventionally be viewed as a news photograph. The image used depicts a disaster scene. In the background bystanders can be seen observing a building that has been damaged, with smoke coming from the side. A flower patterned couch to the edge of a rubble-covered road makes up the remainder of the background. In the foreground there are three dead people. One is slumped over a bicycle, another lying close by with one of the bicycle wheels close to the persons head. Just a few feet away a third person is lying perpendicular to the other two bodies. Blood from the bodies can be see pouring onto the ground. e-tv’s logo sits in the top left hand corner with the line, “e-news, no one gets you closer.” Bar some fine print outside the frame of the image which contain a small blurb and scheduling details, there are no other advertising elements. No context or explanation of the image is given.

Showing Due Care

The death of 43 people at a soccer match on Wednesday this week has, by and large, been dealt with with due sensitivity to those killed.

“...in Every Matter Concerning the Child”

The case of Nadia Neethling is exceptional, and has presented the media with particularly difficult choices in reporting. She was first named and shown in the media over a week ago, after being abducted while walking home. She was, thankfully, found a few days later and at the time was said to be in good health and that she had not been abused. Recent events saw the arrest and charging of two people in connection with her abduction. It has also subsequently come to light that the two people arrested have been charged with indecent assault. While some media have been extremely careful in their reporting of the case, others have displayed a flagrant disregard for the privacy of the child.

In the Best Interests of the Child

The last few weeks have seen considerable coverage of issues related to children in our media both print and broadcast. Cases concerning abuse, abduction and negligence have received prominent coverage. The media are to be commended in this regard. Two stories however, in today’s Mail & Guardian and the Citizen illustrate some of the problems in covering children in the media and suggest that the rights of the children concerned were violated.

e News: Closer, but Better?

In spite of it being heralded by a highly problematic disrespectful advert (see MMP comment of 06/02/01) last week Monday (05/02/01) e-tv launched its daily hour-long news programme during prime time. The decision to have an hour-long bulletin is a positive one and has the potential to present issues in an in-depth and critical manner. MMP’s monitoring of the first weeks of bulletins has revealed an increased number of items in the report and while visual changes were evident coverage was not substantially different.

The Way Advertising News Should Not Be

Last night e-tv launched their new one hour news programme. There were many positive elements and changes to the programme for which e-tv are to be commended. Unfortunately the launch was heralded with a highly problematic print media advert depicting dead bodies. The advert makes use of what would conventionally be viewed as a news photograph. The image used depicts a disaster scene. This advert contravenes principles for ethical reporting.

Blind Justice – The JSC’s Decision to prevent e-tv from Broadcasting the Hearings

The JSC’s Decision to prevent e-tv from Broadcasting the Hearings Towards the end of last week e-tv reported that they had launched an application to allow the station to broadcast hearings of the Judicial Services Commission (JSC). The hearings concerned interviews for a variety of judicial positions. e-tv are to be commended for lodging the application and for challenging the JSC. Their commitment to public service principles is also extremely positive. e-tv’s application was heard this morning and was rejected by the JSC. The JSC argued that the current procedure was to allow the media access to the hearings but to deny television broadcasts of the proceedings. The JSC decided not to deviate from the current position. The decision is a disappointing one indeed and raises issues surrounding access to information and transparency of the judicial process.

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