Invitation to Media and Elections Seminar

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Ideally, elections coverage should not begin a few weeks or months before the elections are held and certainly should not end when the results are announced. In the bid to keep elections coverage on the agenda throughout the elections cycle, Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) together with the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) South Africa will be hosting a full day workshop on the Media and Elections. The workshop aims to build citizen-focused elections coverage towards 2014 and beyond. In this regard, the workshop will address the following related questions:

  • How have the media in South Africa and the Regulator, ICASA, performed in their tasks of ensuring free and fair elections, with specific focus on the 2011 Municipal elections?
  • What lessons can we take from this and what measures can we put in place now to address challenges or reinforce successes?
  • Given that when we have our 2014 National and Provincial elections we may have started a digital era, what will this mean for the media, the Regulator and the IEC for their role and how can we prepare for it?

MMA will also launch its research report on the media’s coverage of the 2011 Municipal Elections titled “Citizens’ Agenda Flushed Away: Uncovering Media on Municipal Elections”. The research found that:

  • Most coverage was given to bigger political parties, meaning that the electorate did not get to hear about other smaller parties;
  • ‘Bread-and-butter’ issues received less coverage while political party campaigns took centre stage;
  • Gender issues and women’s voices were limited. This means that issues affecting more than half the country’s population were neglected;
  • White people were overrepresented as sources of information to the detriment of other races; and
  • Children’s issues and voices were virtually non-existent despite the fact that children constitute approximately 40 percent of the country’s population

According to William Bird, MMA Director, the report “provides a wealth of information as to not only how [the] elections were covered but how we can build on strengths and address weaknesses.”

The workshop details are as follows:

Date:   Wednesday 10 October 2012

Time:  08:00 – 16:00

Place:  IEC National Office

Election House

Riverside Office Park

1303 Heuwel Avenue

Centurion

If you are interested and would like to be part of this relevant and important workshop please contact Lethabo Dibetso (lethabod@mma.org.za; 011 788 1278) or Tumi Sethoba (sethobat@elections.org.za; 012 622 5401) to find out how you can join us. Alternatively, you can join in by following @MediaMattersZA and the workshop on Twitter (#MMA_IEC).

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