Election Coverage 24 February 2009 – Hate Speech and Dubious Electioneering Practices?

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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 MMA’s Election Media Ratings.

Top stories for Tuesday the 24 February are:

1. Various DA and ANC conflicts topped the day’s stories.

These include statements made by Julius Malema about Helen Zille, calling Zille a “racist, colonialist and imperialist” and Khume Ramulifho the DA Youth leader, a “garden boy” (The Star, p. 1).  Helen Zille apparently responded by calling Julius Malema a “inkwenkwe” or “uncircumcised boy”.  Ramulifho responded by saying that Malema resorts to rhetoric and name-calling rather than dealing with issues affecting South African youth.
• Ramulifho’s response was also covered in Sowetan, p. 4.
Zille has also been accused of making comments “like hate speech” by the ANC, in response to statements about Jacob Zuma not being fit to govern in an open letter sent last week (The Star, p. 6).

DA in Mpumalanga also laid charges against ANC for distributing a allegedly racist pamphlet purporting to come from the DA.
• Beeld, p. 7;
• Sowetan, p. 7;

2. Cope’s election of Dandala as their presidential candidate was front-page news in The Times and Sowetan.  It was also covered in:
• Beeld, p. 2;
• The Citizen, p. 4; and,
• The Star, p. 6.

Event-based reporting means that electioneering practices of the ANC and DA have not been scrutinised to the extent of asking legal experts or political analysts whether comments do amount to hate speech and whether the behavior of the two parties is in-line with Electoral Act.

However, a short Reuters story in The Citizen (p. 11) looks at the issue of food prices and the statements of ANC and Cope on these prices.  On this bread-and-butter issue, of particular importance in the wake of an economic crisis, a political analyst from the University of Pretoria is consulted on the ANC’s solution of increasing grants.  The political analyst, Hussein Solomon, states that the ANC’s solution does not deal with the “fundamental causes” of food prices which remain high after the input costs have dropped.  This short article interrogates an important election issue of interest to citizens from all classes, but one that affects the poor particularly.

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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 reviewed in the compilation of this report: Beeld; Business Day; e-tv primetime news; SABC 3 primetime news; Sowetan; The Citizen; The Star; The Times

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