Following the Congress of the People’s (COPE) recent allegation that its Polokwane rally had been deliberated blacked out by the SABC, the public broadcaster has just been given the ok for its coverage of the South African electionsfrom 4 to 19 April, by independent monitoring agency Media Monitoring Africa (MMA).
The MMA report gives the SABC a rating of “fair’ coverage for the above week. Making a finding on how the SABC treated different political parties during the run-up to the elections, the report reads: “For the period, 97% of all items monitored have been monitored as Fair according to the established standard.’
Earlier in the year and, following a standard tender process, MMA was awarded the tender to analyse SABC election coverage with a view to enhancing the corporation’s credibility and openness in its treatment of election coverage.
Amongst other key findings of the latest report was that during the period under review:
· 97% of all items monitored to date are considered to be fair.
· The ANC received the majority of the party coverage at 45% followed by Cope with 18% and the DA with 11% and IFP 4%.
· The ANC once again dominates the SABC’s political party coverage.
· The majority of election coverage was attributed to the National Prosecuting Authority’s impending decision regarding Jacob Zuma’s charges and the eventual dropping of these charges.
· Across the SABC services there are differences in percentages of coverage of political parties, indicative of diversity in the various SABC services.
SABC GE in charge of News & Current Affairs Snuki Zikalala expressed satisfaction with the findings. “In addition to its capacity and audience share, the specific role of the SABC as the public broadcaster means that it has even greater responsibility to the public to report the elections in a manner that is balanced, accurate, diverse and fair,’ he said.
MMA had been contracted to monitor all television news bulletins of SABC 1, 2 and 3. In addition to the above, all special election and additional ad hoc live programmes, current affairs programmes dealing with election related issues plus Morning Live current affairs content was also monitored.