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 Thursday 19 March are:

1. Various stories about the NPA and Jacob Zuma, whether he’ll be going to trial or not, statements by opposition parties, statements by ANC people, accusations against Mo Shaik for leaking the story, defences by Shaik saying he didn’t.
• Business Day, p. 1, 2, 3;
• Daily Sun, p. 3;
• The Citizen, p. 3, 12;
• The Times, p. 4 (2 pieces), 18; and,
• The Star, p. 1, 3 (2 pieces), 16, 17 (2 pieces).

Coverage for the day was quite diverse, with various stories on various parties.

A syndicated story from health e-news looked at what how the manifestos of various parties addressed health. The story, by Kerry Cullinian, is good from the standpoint of informing voters on this critical election issue. It is only unfortunate that the story did not include some graphics to illustrate the differences between plans, as the text-heavy piece made it difficult to compare parties. As coverage on health in election content has been lacking, the story is quite remarkable. It is interesting that coverage of health in terms of elections has been wanting, considering the struggle with the HIV/Aids epidemic, the ongoing crises in our public health system, and prominent stories including an investigation into Matthias Rath’s practices and vitamin business and the meningitis scares. These topical issues present good platforms to question parties on.

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.

The following media are reviewed in the compilation of this report: Beeld, Daily Sun, etv primetime news; SABC 3 primetime news; Sowetan, The Citizen, The Star, and The Times.