Election Coverage 23 February 2009

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Media Monitoring Africa has monitored every democratic election in South Africa.  This year we are doing the same, providing daily reports on media coverage of election news[1], weekly reports as well as providing weekly Election Media Ratings.

Top stories for Monday the 23 February are:

1. Mandela: This story is about allegations reported in the Sunday Times that Nelson Mandela was flown from Lanseria Airport to Mthatha without proper security or medical arrangements, reported by Sunday Times; before being ‘paraded’ around at an ANC rally.  This was covered in:
• Beeld, p. 4;
• Business Day, p. 3;
• Sowetan, p. 4;
• Star, p. 1;
• The Citizen, p. 5;
• The Times, p. 4;
• e-tv, item 2; and,
• SABC, item 4.

2. Khutsong made the headlines in:
• Sowetan, p.6;
• Star, p. 5; and,
• The Citizen, p. 6.
The focus of the items was on Khutsong’s reincorporation into Gauteng, and the ANC electioneering in Khutsong.  There was mention of an apology from the ANC for the initial incorporation into the North West.

The predominantly events-based coverage did not contextualise the Khutsong reintegration.  Considering that the story goes back over four years and resulted in a boycott of the 2006 local government elections, it is a missed opportunity that this background wasn’t explored more.  In addition it is noteworthy that in spite of the importance of the event being essentially a democratic one, there was an absence of discussion about democracy and human rights. It is also a pity that when considering just how many lives in the community were so deeply affected as a result of strikes and non-school attendance, that the voices that dominated the media’s coverage were those of the politicians and not those of the community.  This events-based coverage largely excluded reporting and discussion of information relating to the messages of parties with relation to party manifestos, promises around legislation and action relating to the key concerns of South African citizens.

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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.

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1. The following media are included in this report: Beeld; Business Day; Daily Sun; e-tv 7pm news; Mail & Guardian; SABC 3 7pm news; Sowetan; The Citizen; The Star; The Times.

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