Resources - Media Analysis

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

Election coverage 18, 19 April 2009 - Voter education and encouragement

Election coverage for the weekend 18-19 April was notable for the significantly higher levels of informative coverage on the process of voting as well as on the parties themselves as compared to previous weeks’ coverage.  Newspapers also encouraged South Africans to use their democratic right and vote.

Election coverage 16 April 2009 - Zumaphilia and secret voting

Election press coverage for Thursday 16 April 2009 showed a significant increase, particularly when compared to the previous week, though this was more noticeable in some newspapers than others.  After looking at the day’s top stories, the report looks at two editorials and asks what could the media have done/ still do? The one editorial in The Times notes that the election has been all about Jacob Zuma. However, since other parties have been so poorly covered in the media, there has been pressure on parties to respond to high profile events to gain media attention, notably the Zuma corruption trial.  The second editorial is from The Citizen about the secrecy of the vote. 

Election coverage 15 April 2009 - Sports and xenophobia

Election coverage for Wednesday 15 April 2009 included a variety of different stories.  However, the most prominent were stories about South African’s voting overseas.  Although this was covered far more prominently on television, we are likely to see more coverage in the press tomorrow.  An innovative elections story in The Star was tainted with xenophobic statements from a resident in an area recently affected by xenophobic violence.  The statements were not contradicted.

Election coverage 9-13 April 2009 - politics is about people

Election coverage for Thursday 9 April and the weekend (10-13) continued to be dominated by the NPA’s decision to drop charges against Jacob Zuma, and the repercussions thereof.  This is not surprising given the importance of the decision taken and its potential impact on South Africa.  Thursday’s papers had less content about the case than the previous two days. However, by and large, the weekend coverage provided comprehensive analytical coverage of the issues involved as expected of weekend papers. 

Election coverage 8 April 2009 - Zikalala and confusing stories

Election coverage for Wednesday 8 April continued to be about the NPA’s announcement on the dropping of charges against Jacob Zuma, the reaction from other political parties, and what it means for the country.  A substantial amount of the news in the newspapers was devoted to this.  This was less so for television news. There were also a number of election stories which would confuse audience members, in various media. A comment by the ANC over the renewal of the contract of SABC news manager was also prominently covered. There were also a number of confusing election stories in various media.

Election coverage 7 April 2009 - NPA/Zuma, media takes a stand for the people


Election coverage for Tuesday 7th April was overwhelmingly focused on the NPA’s decision to drop the charges against Jacob Zuma and the reaction from various people.  Not only were these stories prominently covered, but in most newspapers, they filled a majority of news coverage (as opposed to sport, entertainment or business).  The exception to this pattern was the Daily Sun, who still gave unprecedented coverage to this political story as election stories have not been widely covered in the paper.


Election coverage 6 April 2009 - Voters from many places

Articles on the 6 of April focused on the impending announcement by the NPA on whether Jacob Zuma would face charges, with the majority predicting that the NPA would drop charges.  Extensive coverage was also afforded to statements by Zuma that Afrikaaners were the only true White South Africans as well as Zuma’s response to Desmond Tutu’s comments about Zuma.  Coverage of general election stories was notably higher.

Election coverage 3 April 2009 - White Afrikaaners and Zuma

The outstanding decision by the NPA on whether Jacob Zuma would face charges was discussed on Friday 3 April with much comment.  However, most of this was not explicitly related to the election.  The election coverage continued in much the same way as previous coverage, with top stories also revolving around the ANC and Zuma.

Election coverage 1 April 2009 - Any choice but ANC?

Election related items continued to be dominated by the Zuma NPA decision, and it would appear that without these stories, election coverage would only be marginal.  Although undoubtedly of interest to citizens, focus on the Zuma NPA story is unlikely to assist voters who are generally lacking relevant information on the various parties and their manifesto’s.

Election coverage 31 March 2009 - Zuma, the NPA and poverty

Elections items were dominated by the Zuma NPA decision, and ANC or ANC and government aligned stories. Top elections stories for Tuesday 31 March:

1. The NPA decision over whether to proceed with charges against Jacob Zuma continued to garner prominent coverage, with some analysis on the issue. Television coverage said that the decision was deferred until Friday.

2. A distant second election story, in terms of prominence, is statements by the Election Monitoring Network on the employment of ANC supporters in the IEC, political party conflicts, and the abuse of state social relief.

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