Yesterday saw two major court dramas happening in South Africa. But it was not only local media that lapped up the sensational stories – international media also paid close attention to what was happening on local ground. TheMediaOnline reports.
Digital Data Insight Africa, a media monitoring company, has compared the attention attracted by the murder trials of UK businessman Shrien Dewani – accused of masterminding the murder of his bride, Anni, in Khayelitsha, Cape Town – and Oscar Pistorius, the famous Paralympian who shot dead his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, on Valentine’s Day in his Pretoria home last year.
Dewani arrived in Cape Town on Tuesday morning after a lengthy extradition process from the United Kingdom. He made his first appearance in a local court shortly after he touched down in a private aircraft at Cape Town International Airport. On Monday – the day on which he left his mother country – Dewani stories were receiving quite a bit of attention in local media. According to data gathered in the 24 hours from 4pm Sunday to 4pm Monday, at least one in five articles in the South African media covering the two murder cases focused on Dewani. (See the graph below)
The Pistorius trial again dominated the news media, with the so-called ‘Blade Runner’ taking the lion’s share of coverage in South Africa, standing at 77.81 percent, according to DDI.
That might sound like a lot, but compared to other countries, South Africa was not the country covering the Pistorius trial the most in the world. In that 24-hour period measured, the countries yielding the most publicity for the Pistorius trial were the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Australia and France followed by South Africa in sixth place. (See graph below).
Perhaps this is because South Africa has so much other news to report on too, such as the Nkandla report by public protector Thuli Madonsela on expensive security upgrades done to President Jacob Zuma’s private home in KwaZulu-Natal. The Nkandla report, titled ‘Secure in Comfort’, continued to make news headlines despite Pistorius taking the stand for the first time on Monday. (See graph below).
When Pistorius took the stand on Monday, the trial yielded the second-highest amount of coverage since it started last month. According to DDI, the trial generated more than 67 000 unique media items. (See below).
DDI also predicted that the sixth week of the trial would generate the most coverage so far. A quick glance at the graph above shows that it already drew a lot of attention for just the first day.
Lastly, the legal ‘celebrities’ in the Pistorius trial also continued to attract attention. While defence lawyer Barry Roux was the topic of most online conversations in the first part of the trial, state prosecutor Gerrie Nel seems to be catching up quickly, now that he started cross-examination. Nel was the talk of the town after his cross-examination of pathologist Jan Botha. He made a “massive impact in the media – world-wide”, according to DDI. (See below)
DDI data was compiled from more than six million online platforms including blogs and social networks, global newspapers, 66 radio and television stations and local print publications.