Resources - Research Reports

Research Reports are indepth, often quantitative reports around our various programme areas.

The News in Black and White: An Investigation into Racial Stereotyping in the Media

The methodology used in this study was deliberately chosen to achieve two main ends: first and foremost to reveal the extent to which racial stereotypes occur in the South African media. But secondly to act as a constructive critique of the media rather than pose a threat to its independence.

The monitoring revealed some interesting results which over the six week period suggested certain significant patterns of reporting. In many cases as with reporting of crime and of Africa, the negativity we have found associated with them seemed obvious and yet the racial element of many of these reports has needed to be recognised so that it can be challenged.

A Snapshot Survey of Women’s Representation in the South African Media at the end of the Millenium

In our country discrimination against women and sexism continues despite a new constitution which guarantees all South Africans freedom and equality. The media plays a role in this. The extent to which the media allows and opens our eyes and minds to the rights and roles of women in our society, helps to shape public perceptions and the attitudes of people in our country to the rights of women and against discrimination.

However the media can also prevent or limit our understanding. This project aims to evaluate just how limiting or open the media is being about women and the roles women occupy in our society. It is fitting, at the close of the millennium, to evaluate where women feature in our media and to reflect on the message that their status in the media sends to the society in which we live.

So What’s News in the Elections? Events Not Issues: An Analysis of Media Coverage of the 1999 Elections

In 1994 the Media Monitoring Project (MMP) monitored the media coverage of the first democratic elections. In our final analysis we found that the media’s reporting of the “liberation election” was characterised by a justified and important emphasis on the historic nature of the event and by balanced reporting. But while the reporting was balanced it was not informative. The reporting of the election was more about liberation than about policies and political issues.

For the 1999 elections things were very different. The goodwill and euphoria had been replaced by rigorous politicking, and the bread and butter issues of our society were expected to feature prominently in all the parties’ campaigns. Consequently the demands on the media would be significantly different and more difficult. The media would have to play a bigger role in giving the citizens of our country information, about parties and their policies, about the critical issues faced by our society and the solutions and proposals which the various parties offer. The media would have to play the role of equipping South Africans to make informed decisions at the polls rather than celebrating their freedom as they did in 1994. This would be the role of the media in a free, democratic society.

Bad Girls: A critical analysis of media coverage of women in politics

This research examines the media’s treatment of women in politics over the past five years. Beginning with an evaluation of the predominant approaches and research conducted on media coverage of women in politics, the paper draws on appropriate methodologies to investigate how the media reported women and gender issues during the 1994 National Elections. Following this the research analyses the media’s treatment of women in politics, the problems they face and the media coverage they receive. The case of Dr Zuma, the current Minister of Health is studied and the results of this contextualised within the patriarchal discourses prominent in our society. Drawing on the views of journalists and some politicians the research proposes certain goals and actions that should be taken, in order to transform media coverage of women in politics.

Radio News Diversity Project

Diversity in media content, especially that of news and information programmes is crucial. The media, as a primary source of news and information in our society does have a large role in influencing the political, social and cultural agenda’s of the country. A limited range of news and information necessarily limits the diversity of information available to the public who as voters and tax payers have the right to be informed in order to make decisions in their lives.

Since the IBA’s inception in 1994, the licensing of new community and private radio stations has been widely welcomed as an indicator of the greater diversity of information and entertainment available to listeners. In terms of their licence conditions all stations licensed by the IBA have had to provide regular news bulletins and information programmes as part of their line-up, and the expectation has been that this would result in a wider and more diverse range of news stories, sources and areas of reporting. By providing news and information, the IBA hoped to ensure that all radio stations served the public’s information needs. Thus the IBA, through the community licences it issued attempted to allow as diverse a range of radio stations as possible, with the aim that these would provide a varied and valuable source of information and entertainment to the South African public.

Reporting Abortion: An Analysis of Media Coverage of the Choice of Termination of Pregnancy Act

Clause 11 in our Bill of Rights guarantees the right to life whilst clause 12 (2a,b) gives everyone the right to “make decisions concerning reproduction” and “security in and control over their body.”  Issues such as abortion and the death penalty create a tension within the parameters of these rights.  MMP monitored to see how the Act was portrayed.

The Role of the Print Media during the Apartheid Era

The aim of this study was to examine the role of the print media during the apartheid era. The findings included in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) report. It offers an insight into the print media as a propaganda mechanism, which has lessons beyond South Africa, as other media fulfil the role of printing government propaganda.

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