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.

In general, there seemed to be a drop in election-specific coverage, maybe in preparation for weekend media. Top elections stories for Friday 20 March are:

1. Jacob Zuma, the National Prosecutions Authority and the possibility of the charges being dropped, some stories including comments by political parties:

• Business Day, p. 3, 10, 11;
• Etv, item 1;
• SABC 3, item 1;
• Sowetan, p. 5;
• The Citizen, p. 3;
• The Star, p. 1, 14; and,
• The Times, p. 1, 4.

Much of the Zuma-NPA coverage was not election specific, but is included in this analysis because it involves the president of the ANC.

2. Julius Malema was covered in various stories. One about his role as negotiator between two business owners in Fordsburg, and others based on statements he has made:

• Sowetan, p. 8 – statement on Phumsile Mlambo-Ngcuka;
• The Star, p. 1, Fordsburg negotiations;
• The Times, p. 4 – statement on BEE; and
• The Times, p. 5 – Fordsburg negotiations.

The exception to the low coverage of elections issues was service delivery coverage in The Star (p. 14, 15) and Sowetan (p. 13). The Star had a comment by Matthews Phosa (p. 14), which was balanced in the page opposite by a piece on delivery to rural poor. The Sowetan piece noted an improvement in communication about service delivery and other issues by ANC politicians, which is a good development that MMA hopes will continue after the elections.
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.