Getting the Best Out of the Media, the 2005 16 Days Report

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The Media Monitoring Project (MMP) found an increase in the amount of coverage provided to the16 Days of Activism Campaign No Violence Against
Women and Children during 2005. The majority of South African media performed particularly well, in some crucial respects the media performed
better in comparison to the 16 Days of Activism Campaign in 2004.

The 2005 monitoring results revealed the following:

  • A greater effort by government departments, non-governmental organisations, corporations and the media in taking the 2005 16 Days of Activism Campaign on board.
  • The highest number of female sources were observed by the MMP in over one hundred monitoring projects conducted over the past thirteen years. As shown in Section 4.1.2 of this report female voices accounted for 55% of all people accessed for commentary.
  • More than half of all stories (59%), where the sex of the journalist or author could be identified, were written by female journalists, in comparison to the 54% for 2004. See Section 4.2.1 of this report for a breakdown of journalists on the basis of sex of sources.
  • A notable increase in the number of stories focused on advocacy resisting violence against woman and child abuse. In 2005, 16% of all stories monitored focused on advocacy, while in 2004 this figure was at 6%. Child abuse related topics in the media during 2005 constituted a large portion of items monitored (21%), in similar measure to 2004 findings. The major topics covered are discussed in Section 4.3 of this report.
  • Similar patterns to previous years of monitoring of provincial coverage once again showed that Gauteng, KwaZulu Natal and the Western Cape still dominated coverage during the Campaign period in 2005. In fact, stories from Gauteng accounted for 29%, which is more than stories with a national focus which amounted to 26%. In 2004, national stories accounted for 27% of stories, with Gauteng at 22% and Kwazulu-Natal and the Western Cape
    each at 9%.

On the negative side, 2005 coverage revealed some deterioration from 2004 in relation to the nature of the coverage provided. In 2005, only 1% of all stories monitored during the Campaign were feature articles, in comparison with 8% noted for 2004. This reduction in the number of features and the analysis of features and editorials covering the Campaign is a matter of concern. This is proof of the widespread simplistic and decontextualised nature of reporting on this very serious subject matter.

Download the full report here.

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