Media Release 

21 February 2022

JOHANNESBURG, 21 February 2022 – Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) is pleased to launch the reports on media’s coverage of the 2021 local government elections.

As with every election since the first democratic election of 1994, MMA has monitored how the South African media has reported the event. The monitoring has been done to ascertain trends in media coverage and check who the agenda setters are.

In 2021, MMA monitored and analysed content from 39 print, online and broadcast media. A total of 3, 748 items were monitored using an in-house online monitoring tool called Dexter. This tool collected content from the selected media websites and stored the data in a searchable database for manual monitoring. Content from broadcast media was manually inputted into the tool by specially trained and experienced media monitors. News and news-related items in English, Zulu, Tswana, Tsonga, Vhenda etc were monitored. Findings from the monitoring exercise were analysed into two separate reports – one analysed content from various SABC channels and the other analysed content from all other media.

The reports being launched include findings on quantity and quality of media coverage of the elections. Aspects such as which issues were given priority by the media, which sources spoke the most and whether the voice of citizens was sufficiently audible were checked when monitoring. Further, MMA looked at whether there were instances of bias in media coverage as well as how the 325 contesting political parties were represented. The 2021 finding were compared to the findings of the media coverage of the 2016 local government elections.

In 2016, monitoring findings revealed that the ANC and the DA were the two most represented political parties at 43.5% and 24% respectively. Further, citizens only spoke in 5% of stories on that year’s local government elections and instances of bias were found in 12% of stories. Have these trends continued or did the media adopt the recommendations put forward by MMA in 2016 on how coverage of the local government elections can be improved?

For further information, please contact:

Lister Namumba, Media Monitoring Africa, Tel: 011 7881278,

For more information about Media Monitoring Africa and its work visit,

About reports on media’s coverage of the 2021 local government elections:

About MMA

Media Monitoring Africa‘s vision is a responsible, quality media that enables an engaged and informed citizenry in Africa and across the world. MMA aims to promote the development of a free, fair, ethical and critical media culture in South Africa and the rest of the continent. To achieve MMA’s vision, the three key areas that MMA seeks to address through a human rights-based approach are: media ethics, media quality and media freedom.

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