Election Coverage 1 April 2009 – Any Choice But ANC?

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Election related items continued to be dominated by the Zuma NPA decision, and it would appear that without these stories, election coverage would only be marginal.  Although undoubtedly of interest to citizens, focus on the Zuma NPA story is unlikely to assist voters who are generally lacking relevant information on the various parties and their manifesto’s.

Top elections stories for Wednesday 1 April:

1. Election related items continued to be dominated by the Zuma NPA decision, and it would appear that without these stories, election coverage would only be marginal.  Although undoubtedly of interest to citizens, focus on the Zuma NPA story is unlikely to assist voters who are generally lacking relevant information on the various parties and their manifesto’s.

2. DA’s comments to the Office of the Inspector General of Intelligence over the dismissal of a call to investigate the possible recordings of conversations between Mbeki and others while Mbeki was still in office. In addition, DA’s call for the NPA to ‘come clean’ about communication between the NPA and Zuma’s representatives if they dismiss charges against him:
• SABC 3;
• Sowetan, p. 5; and,
• The Star, p. 9.

3.The decision by the electoral court to allow Winnie Madikizela-Mandela to stand as a candidate on the ANC’s election list:
• Sowetan, p. 6; and,
• The Star, p. 9;

4. IFP’s vow to proceed with a court application to force the Home Affairs Minister to grant the Dalai Lama a visa. While not presented as election stories, these clearly relate to an electioneering activity of the IFP, and revolve around political conflict where the IFP is arguing with what is essentially a political stance of the ANC led government:
• Sowetan, p. 9; and,
• The Star, p. 2.

While the above stories were not the only election items, the prominence given to Zuma and the NPA case to the detriment of other key elections issues results in inadequate coverage of other relevant election stories.

The Times, in particular had no other election coverage (this is despite a dedicated elections website that they could have used comment from).
Television news for the day was very different, with etv continuing their coverage with their election bus, and SABC3 covering campaigns of different parties.  However, coverage content did not provide the information about different parties that people require to be appropriately informed.

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For more information please contact Sandra Roberts on 084 9000 344 or 011 788 1278 or William Bird on 082 887 1370.

The Daily Reports are made possible by the Open Society Foundation.

Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) has monitored every democratic election in South Africa. This year we are doing the same, providing daily and weekly reports on media coverage of election news, as well as MMA’s Election Media Ratings.

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The following media are reviewed in the compilation of this report: Beeld, Daily Sun, etv primetime news; SABC 3 primetime news; Sowetan, The Citizen, and The Star and The Times.

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