Resources - Media Analysis

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

Category: HIV and AIDS [REMOVE]

Guinea pigs and the frantic search for the AIDS vaccine gel

The coverage of Microbicide trails in 2007 the following findings showed the following patterns:

  • The stories were afforded significant prominence in some of the newspapers monitored.
  • Just over a quarter of the content items dramatised the issues.  This included using phrases such as “frantic search”, describing the volunteers as “desperate” or “pleading”, the use of exclamation marks, different font sizes and capitals to emphasise controversy, and the use of unnamed sources who make allegations that are not substantiated in the items monitored;
  • Most content items analysed show a clear bias either in favour of the HIV and AIDS researchers, or against the researchers.
  • In contrast, the volunteers are treated ambivalently and even in a demeaning way in several content items.
Lazy newsgathering distorted murder news

As a reader of Daily Sun newspaper, you will very possibly have a different understanding of what recently happened in Zandspruit, Honeydew than if you were a reader of The Star. The angle these two newspapers took on the story of the 7-year old girl who was found dead on the 10th March 2008 allow for an interesting comparison. The Star focused on the accusations that the police failed to act on several phone calls from the family to report the missing girl. Daily Sun however did not mention this at all and limited its reporting to describing the incident, making the reaction of people to the police completely unfathomable. These stories gives a clear example of the necessity of balanced reporting.

Media and the reporting of the budget speech

The budget speech attracts much media attention every year. This year was no different. When reporting on the budget speech, it is expected that the media ‘translate’ the implications for their readers. In this respect the reports on the speech were not entirely successful.

Gang Rape & HIV/AIDS

On Sunday night during News Hour (18/11/2001), and then repeated on Monday (20/11/2001) on Morning Live, the SABC chose to report a story about a woman who had been gang raped. While the intention may have been good, the result raised several ethical issues and highlighted the necessity for extreme care to be exercised in the reporting of violence against women. The item was exceptional for the way it dealt with the issue of HIV/AIDS, in that the rape survivor was named and identified and that her children were identified.

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