13th December, 2023

Media Monitoring Africa Releases Report on Enyobeni Tavern Tragedy: Assessing Media Coverage of Underage Drinking and Accountability

[Johannesburg] – Media Monitoring Africa (MMA), a leading authority in media analysis and advocacy, has unveiled a comprehensive report analysing media coverage of the tragic events at Enyobeni Tavern in East London, Eastern Cape, South Africa, on 26th June, 2022. The report, conducted using MMA’s advanced in-house media monitoring tool, Dexter, aims to assess how the media addressed the critical issue of underage drinking and accountability in the aftermath of the incident.

According to Aware.org, 50% of teenagers in South Africa consume alcohol, and those who initiate alcohol consumption before the legal age of 18 are four times more likely to develop alcohol dependence. Against this backdrop, South Africa grapples with the challenge of underage drinking, as highlighted by studies estimating youth drinking at 32%, with 12% of teenagers initiating alcohol use before 13 years of age.

The Enyobeni Tavern tragedy, where 21 young lives were tragically cut short, has prompted an urgent need for addressing the complex issue of underage drinking. Media coverage is instrumental in shaping public understanding and fostering accountability, particularly in the wake of such devastating incidents.

Media Monitoring Africa’s report seeks to answer two key questions:

  1. Did the coverage of the Enyobeni incident sufficiently highlight the issue of teenage drinking?
  2. Did the media hold or seek to hold those responsible and those in power accountable?

The media monitoring too,l Dexter meticulously gatherered and analyzsed a dataset comprising 540 articles from various news media websites from June 26, 2022, to June 26, 2023. This comprehensive review aimed to identify how the media explored the issues of underage drinking and accountability concerning the Enyobeni tragedy.

The Enyobeni tragedy underscores the importance of media accountability, serving justice for the victims and their families, acting as a deterrent against future incidents, exposing systemic issues, and upholding principles of transparency and trust in the justice system. By prioritising such coverage, media can effectively contribute to the prevention of similar tragedies.

Media Monitoring Africa remains committed to promoting responsible and ethical media reporting, utilising cutting-edge technology and methodologies to advance its mission. While this research had limitations in excluding broadcast and community media, the report offers a nuanced and evidence-based assessment of the media’s treatment of the critical concern of underage drinking in the Enyobeni tragedy.

Read full report here:

Enyobeni Report

For more information, please contact:

Ntombifuthi Kubeka, Project Coordinator for Research and Analysis,

ntombik@mma.org.za, 011 788 1278

 Media Monitoring Africa