President Zuma pips Julius Malema to the post in election coverage

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President Jacob Zuma tops a list of the top 20 “loudmouths” in the run-up to the elections, with Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema coming in a close second.

This is according to an interim report on the SA media’s coverage of the elections, released by Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) in Johannesburg on Monday, City Press reported.

The media watchdog revealed that what the president had to say received the most media coverage in the months leading up to the elections.

EFF leader Julius Malema was in second place, followed by DA leader Helen Zille, DA Gauteng premier candidate Mmusi Maimane and Public Protector Thuli Madonsela.

“We are spending much too much time letting politicians determine what we should know about elections and not enough time is given to citizens to put difficult questions to politicians,” said William Bird, director of MMA.

The ANC received the most media coverage across all media platforms – at 39% of all coverage. The DA came in second at 26%, while new kids on the block EFF (12%) and Agang SA (4%) took third and fourth place respectively. Cope rounded out the top five with 4%.

Cope has seen the most radical decrease in coverage since the 2009 elections when it managed around 12%.

“To the credit of the media, the media in SA is overwhelmingly fair. And that’s across the board,” said Bird. “If we celebrate SA’s achievements as a democracy, then we should also celebrate our media. There has been greater diversity in our media and we need to be proud.”

He said fair media coverage was informed by the number of biased content items, the number of sources used when reporting on a story and the spread of political parties.

“It’s very rare for many developed and developing regions to have fair media coverage,” said Bird.

The report is based on monitoring over seven weeks – until April 30 – of 50 media outlets, including print, online and broadcast media.

Bird said the biggest difficulty media outlets faced was ensuring all 27 registered political parties received equitable coverage.

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