Resources - Research Reports

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

Category: Democracy and Governance [REMOVE]

Citizen’s Agenda Flushed Away: Uncovering Media on Municipal Elections

The 2011 Municipal elections were dominated by coverage surrounding a crucial issue of service delivery, in particular, provision of sewerage and sanitation. Unfortunately the discussions were dominated not by the citizens affected and policy issues of parties involved but rather the politicians. This report explores various aspects of media coverage from fairness, party and topic coverage to who spoke and where stories originated. In doing so it provides a wealth of information as to not only how elections were covered but how we can build on strengths and address weaknesses. The role of the media in an election period is too important to not be continually analysed with a view to ensuring citizens are able to make informed choices. The report should stimulate debate, discussion and encourage change, if it does we will have done our previous reports justice and, hopefully, made a contribution to the deepening of democracy.

Reporting on Children - Is the coverage getting any better? Is there something to be glad about?

On the 17th of July 2012, MMA released two reports on the coverage of children in South African and Zambian media. While there are general improvements in how children are represented in the media since 2003 when MMA started its research, the report findings show that some areas demand the attention of journalists and editors.

National and Provincial Elections 2009: “A win or a place, citizens come last.”

During election time, the media has a pivotal role to play in communicating information to voters and facilitating their making of informed decisions on Election Day. For this reason Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) has been monitoring coverage, gathering data and providing analysis since the first South African national and provincial elections in 1994. This report assesses the results of monitoring coverage preceding and immediately after the fourth national democratic election, which took place on 22 April 2009, and reflects findings from 56 South African print and broadcast media. While considering the media’s mandate for fairness and balance in coverage, the report also considers the quality of the coverage that deals with the issues that materially influence South African citizens’ lives and futures as a fundamental function of the right to free speech and self-determination. Furthermore, this report takes the opportunity to explicitly engage with questions of gender in the context of election coverage. The findings are based on quantitative analysis and a rating system that allows for comparison and ranking of media performance. MMA proposes that while the South African media landscape demonstrated good levels of balance and fairness in its coverage, there is an opportunity to develop greater rigour in dealing with topics of importance to citizens, in order to better inform voters on key election issues.

2009 Election Coverage: Did media assist citizens in making an informed decision?

In Media Monitoring Africa’s final weekly report on the 2009 Elections, we focus on the overall performance of media in terms of their role in enabling South African citizens to fully and effectively participate in their democracy through the provision of relevant and timely information in the lead up to the elections on April 22.

Deadly silence - Media election coverage confirms disinterest in the welfare of children

With the exception of a handful of articles by some journalists, election coverage highlighting the serious issues faced by South African children has been extremely disappointing for its absence. In the previous weekly report, it was noted that in media’s role of holding government to account and informing citizens, it was particularly important for media to give voice to the concerns and opinions of the marginalised in society, as so often they remain silenced through powerlessness and political disinterest. It is even more important that media fulfil this role during an election period, when the need for information and potential for influence and change is the greatest.

Women? What women?!  - Media contributes to the disempowerment of women

It is clear that issues around gender equality, women’s poverty and health are of primary importance to South Africa. Women form a greater proportion of South Africa’s population and a greater proportion of the rural population (which is also the most poorly serviced), head a greater number of households (which are more likely to be poor and earn less than male-headed households), are affected by HIV/Aids the most, and suffer alarming levels of gender-based violence. MMA’s monitoring demonstrates that this has not been reflected in media’s election coverage, when these issues should come to the forefront of many (if not the greater majority of) reports.

“No big deal” Poverty, Service Delivery and Election Coverage: Election Report for week ending 3 Apr

This week MMA looks at key topics of elections stories. The results of the topics of elections coverage present a number of issues to discuss. For this report however, we will build on the prior week’s report “Is the media campaigning for the ANC and COPE?”, and focus on the level of attention devoted to the topics of manifestos, campaigning, poverty and service delivery.

This report addresses the results of media monitoring conducted from 13/03/09 until 01/04/2009. According to the monitoring results, it would appear that media consider simplistic coverage of campaign activities and political conflict to be more important than engaging parties and the public over the content of party manifestos, and how parties believe such major issues as poverty and service delivery should and can be addressed.

Delivering Service: Local Government Elections 2006 and the Media

The 2006 Local Government Elections demonstrated many of the patterns from past of election coverage, with the elections attracting much media attention, but event-based reporting predominating. The majority of the coverage was national, rather than local, as may be expected in a local election. Beeld was the exception in this regard.

The fairness of coverage was compromised by media not setting their own agenda, but in allowing national party figures to do so. While national political figures featured largely, local issues only made the news mainly through public service delivery protests.

Women featured during this period in the media as a result of party manifestos to promote women within their ranks, not from a media strategy to seek out and discover female sources.

Race featured narrowly in the media, based on party announcements and perceived race-based voting.

Making their mark: Coverage of the 2004 elections

MMP monitored the South African national elections in 2004 to determine whether the media fulfilled their obligations to cover the elections in a free, fair, balanced and informative manner. Particular attention was given to special issues, including gender, poverty and HIV/AIDS. The Star topped our elections top 10, read the report to find out why.

LGE2K: An Analysis of Media Coverage of the 2000 Local Government Elections

On the 5th of December 2000 South Africans voted for the second time in the Local Government Elections. Unlike the 1995 LGE which were preceded by the euphoria of the first national democratic elections and doubt as to whether the LGE would take place, the 2000 LGE, although delayed against the background of the opposition parties uniting to oppose the ANC took place uneventfully. There were a variety of candidates who stood as independents. In addition to this it was expected that as people had already voted for local government in 1995 that there would be greater knowledge of the process and consequently greater capacity for change at local levels. Overall the coverage by the media was low compared to previous elections, this was in line with the general attitude of political parties who appeared to express minimal interest in the process. While it was true that people had greater knowledge of the system the IEC had to deal with the number of municipalities being reduced from over 800 to around 224. The concomitant changes in the voting system as well as the complexities involved were poorly represented in the media.

Page 1 of 2 pages  1 2 >