Election Coverage 25 March 2009 – Rethinking the Media Tribunal

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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 25 March are:

1. The ANC statement that they are reconsidering the formation of a media tribunal, based on a ‘shift’ in thinking. While a significant step, it was a pity that no reason for the “shift” having taken place were provided.
• Business Day, p. 3;
• The Citizen, p. 9;
• The Star, p. 5; and,
• The Times, p. 4.

2. Various statements by Matthews Phosa, some made at the ANC’s Progressive Business Forum in Durban. These related to Zuma, his right to appeal and Zuma’s intentions to unveil plans after election polling has taken place, with the assumption that this will lead to Zuma’s inauguration as SA’s President. It has not been made clear what these “plans” are.
• Beeld, p. 6;
• Sowetan, p. 6; and,
• The Star, p. 3.

Beeld carried an informative piece on young voters in Gauteng. According to the piece, some voters are unsure of who to vote for and others are fed up and would rather braai than vote. Considering the number of new voters for this election, voter apathy amongst youth could radically affect voter turnout, and therefore could also undermine claims to legitimate and truly representative government. Some parties are planning youth events on voting day.

The continued absence of children and children’s issues from elections coverage, indicates a fundamental failing of media and political parties to engage on a subject that is of vital importance to this country, given issues around access to education and health services, not to mention the increasing number of child-headed households or children cared for by grandparents because of the HIV/Aids epidemic.”

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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 is acting as impartial observer of the SABC’s elections coverage.

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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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