Election Coverage 18 March 2009 – The Voters Speak

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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.

Top elections stories for Wednesday 18 March are:

1. More news about the objections to Winnie Madikizela-Mandela’s being on the ANC election list submitted to the IEC.
• Business Day, p. 5;
• Daily Sun, p. 4;
• The Citizen, p. 4; and,
• Sowetan, p. 16 (editorial and cartoon).

2. The service delivery protests on the Golden Highway, with protesters saying they will boycott the election unless their lack of toilets, water, electricity and housing is addressed.
• Beeld, p. 2, with an opinion about service delivery as an election issue on p. 13;
• Daily Sun, p. 5;
• The Citizen, p. 9 (covered 2 separate protests); and,
• The Times, p. 6.

In its Wednesday edition, Beeld encouraged people to practice their democratic right and vote. In another piece, service delivery as an election issue in the Northwest Province was analysed. Such coverage is not only positive, by encouraging accountability of government over poor delivery, but it also promotes democratic participation by encouraging people to vote.

SABC 3 continues to provide coverage of a diversity of parties, more so than many other mediums monitored. Diversity in coverage should always be encouraged. However, by tending to only cover election campaign events, it allows politicians to set the agenda rather than addressing issues of interest to the voters. This is a general trend across election coverage reviewed for the daily reports so far. MMA again encourages media to set the agenda, rather than leaving this to electioneering politicians. Click here to read this challenge.

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