Election Coverage 26 February 2009 – Cope Gets Cream of Coverage

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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 Thursday the 26 February are:

1. Cope’s choice of Mvume Dandala as presidential candidate.

There was a significant increase in the number of commentaries, features and editorials in the day’s coverage. Much of this focused on Cope’s choice of Dandala, and the implications of the decision for Cope. Media coverage included:

• Business Day editorial, on the lack of transparency in the decision-making process;
• Business Day opinion, p. 15;
• The Star opinion, p. 18; and,
• The Star feature, p. 19.

Other articles on Dandala and Cope:
• Beeld, p. 14; and,
• The Star, p. 6.

A feature on Dandala in The Star quoted Dandala discussing Cope’s standing on issues of crime, the death penalty, education and Zimbabwe. Considering that Dandala is relatively unknown, such reports are important to provide more information and background on who he is, to outline his qualities, and give his opinion on issues concerning South Africans.

Allan Boesak’s comments about ANC never winning in Western Cape and his reconsidering joining Cope also featured:
• Beeld, p. 6;
• The Citizen, p. 4; and,
• The Times, p. 4.

2. The ANC’s list of candidates for office was also prominently covered with only minor some discussion over the choice of some of the candidates, including Kgalema Motlanthe and Winnie Madikizela Mandela. Media coverage included:
• Business Day, p. 1, 4;
• The Citizen; p. 6; and,
• The Times, p. 1.

While media may have had little time to analyse the make up of the ANC’s lists, the focus of many stories was the same, with most questioning Winnie Madikizela Mandela’s inclusion as well as others like Trevor Manuel. None of the items monitored mentioned that the ANC had achieved its gender quota in its lists. Given the numerous gender issues that can and have been raised concerning party manifestos, this is a significant achievement.

Coverage remains similar across the mediums monitored with only a few different stories or angles. The Star continued its follow-up on initiation at schools, and given the public response to these stories, it presents an ideal opportunity to obtain the views of political parties and their leaders on initiation.
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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 Open Society Foundation.

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1. The following media are reviewed in the compilation of this report: Beeld; Business Day; Daily Sun; e-tv primetime news; SABC 3 primetime news; Sowetan; The Citizen; The Star; The Times.

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