MMA has been monitoring and analysing the media coverage of the Covid-19 in South Africa with the aim of determining trends in coverage. We know that dominant voices hold power in the media, shape narrative and opinion of public discourse. Therefore, the ongoing analysis looks at whose voices are being heard, their gender and race representation as well as their affiliation.
The first analysis revealed that a huge percentage of sources during the monitoring period, 13 to 17 April, 2020, were black males who are affiliated to government. The report findings also showed that scientists, academics and other experts in the field (health, Covid-19) rarely featured in media coverage of Covid-19. Sadly, this has not changed much in the second monitoring period which analysed data collected from the same media, from the 18th of April until the 2nd of May, 2020.
Since the first case was reported in South Africa in March, 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic and the damage it is leaving in its wake, has been the topic of discussion in media coverage. This coverage has ranged from mere announcements of new cases and/or deaths to the impact of the Covid-19 and consequently, the South African lockdown has had on the economy and households. William Bird, MMA Director speaks about this coverage and raises questions the media and the public should be asking.
“The biggest story of our time is also one of the most complex. How do our media report on a crisis where new information arises so often? Where disinformation is its own pandemic? Whose voices do we hear, and whose are excluded? Through our analyses, we seek to explore these questions and help the media and public see the bigger trends,” says Bird.
For enquiries, please contact Lister Namumba, the Monitoring, Research and Analysis Program Manager by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.