Is gender on the 2019 elections agenda?

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Media Monitoring Africa, a leading media research organisation in Africa today launched the first report on coverage of the 2019 national elections in South Africa. Read the report.

We are officially in elections season! With less than one month to go until South Africans hit the polls, we ask the question: how well are the media covering these elections? Are we only hearing from politicians, or are we hearing from diverse nuanced sources? Do some parties hog all the limelight or is it pretty evenly distributed? What are some of the key issues being raised by political parties and are journalists interrogating these campaign plans? Should we be concerned about some media houses favouring one political party over another, or is coverage largely fair and unbiased?

Given that media have a key role to play in providing essential information to the electorate in order to help them make informed decisions, these are all critical questions that must be answered for us to understand the quality of information that we receive. As such, the report released today “How are we doing?” is a brief report that seeks to answer some of the basic questions outlined above. This is the first in a series of reports that will be released by MMA over the next two months and each report will specifically focus on one key theme. The focus for our March analysis is gender. We chose this not only because half of South Africa is made up of women but even more critically, because there are 2 million more women who are registered voters than men.

Patriarchy has meant that women and their issues are often sidelined in mainstream narratives, despite their making up a significant and powerful portion of the electorate. Our report aims to highlight the ways in which media have taken positive steps to ensuring a better diversity of voices and issues in the stories that we read, but also to identify gaps that, if rectified, could vastly improve the quality of elections coverage in the future.

For more information, please feel free to contact Sarah Findlay at sarahf@mma.org.za 011 788 1278 or Azola Dayile at azolad@mma.org.za 011 788 1278.

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