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Media coverage and the election: Were some parties more equal than others?

Year: 2004
Working paper number: 069
Author: Davis, Gavin
Unit: DARU
Abstract:

Debates over the role of the media in a democratic South Africa remain as fierce as ever. The African National Congress (ANC) and its adherents routinely criticise the independent press for insufficiently transforming itself and, as a result, producing press coverage that tends to be anti-government. Opposition parties question the independence of the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), claiming that the public broadcaster is fast becoming an instrument of ANC propaganda. This paper asserts that these arguments have been overstated by political actors and some commentators. Data collected during the 2004 election campaign suggests that the ANC get the lion's share of news coverage, followed by the Democratic Alliance across all broadcast and print media. It is thus more appropriate to ascribe the media dominance of these two parties to their ability to generate publicity through superior resources, funding and organisation than media bias. 


Publication file: wp69.pdf
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