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Reporting on land reform: A path riddled with pitfalls

In the past few years in South Africa the land reform issue has been at the center of both political and economical debate. Also the current socio-economic situation of the country has amplified the debate with the main contributors sometimes misrepresenting the issues or focusing only on certain parts of the topic. As a leading media research organisation in Africa, Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) is interested in how these topics are covered by media and how that impacts other areas such as politics.

This year South Africans will be voting for the next national government, political parties are already campaigning and launching manifestos and the land reform act is highly debated by all parties. Based on that we decided to conduct this research to understand the quality of content citizens receive from media as far as land reform is concerned.

The report we released today will give a better understanding of the main actors behind the debate and also the dynamics beyond. The research focuses on five key elements which are always part of the monitoring methodology MMA uses, this include sources (who is talking), race, gender, affiliation (talking on behalf of whom), topic coverage (loudest voices).

Throughout these years MMA has conducted different research with a diversity of themes. However, the trends we observe are very often the same with males dominating the debate or politicians receiving more coverage compared to normal citizens. Unlike the trends we usually see in terms of races in our research, here we saw a massive increase of white voices.

Read the full report.

For questions, comments and more details contact:

jacquesn@mma.org.za