Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) is launching the sixth brief in the series, ‘Analysis of Covid-19 Media Coverage’. These analyses are published consistently with the first brief having been published on 8 May, 2020.
MMA has been monitoring and analysing the media coverage of the Covid-19 in South Africa with the aim of determining trends in coverage. We know that dominant voices hold power in the media, shape narrative and opinion of public discourse. Therefore, the ongoing analysis looks at whose voices are being heard, their gender and race representation as well as their affiliation.
The previous analyses revealed that a huge percentage of sources were black males who are affiliated to government. The findings also showed that scientists, academics and other experts in the field (health, Covid-19) rarely featured in media coverage of Covid-19.
On this, one of the report authors, Msizi Mzolo who is a Project Coordinator at MMA said, “The inadequate share of voice of medical experts, academics and scientists in coverage of Covid-19 has been a major concern as these play a huge role in helping combat Covid-19. This affiliation rarely makes it to the top 10 list of sources.”
Since the first case was reported in South Africa in March, 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic and the damage it is leaving in its wake, has been the topic of discussion in media coverage. This coverage has ranged from mere announcements of new cases and/or deaths to the impact of the covid-19 and consequently, the South African lockdown has had on the economy and households. Azola Dayile, Advocacy, Lobbying & Litigation Program Manager and co-author of the Covid-19 analyses speaks about how the media must delve deep when reporting the pandemic.
“Having closely followed the coverage of the pandemic by local news outlets, I would say that the media must – notwithstanding its current challenges – rely less on official press conferences and briefings but rather return to investigatory reporting which would include seeking out health, labour and socio-political economy experts to opine on the implications of the pandemic and lockdown on people’s lives holistically,” says Dayile.
For enquiries, please contact Lister Namumba, the Monitoring, Research and Analysis Program Manager by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.