South African and foreign media covering the country’s 20-year milestone elections have so much more to offer this year as they take advantage of digital media. The Media Online has compiled a list of who is doing what on 7 May, and beyond, as we wait for the results that will shape the next five years of South African life.
SABC (channel 404, DStv)
The SABC will be covering elections on its television stations (including the 24-hour channel on DStv) as well as its extensive radio stations around the country. But it has also put in place a number of digital channels. The SABC’s digital news editor, Izak Minnaar, says this is the first “big social media election” and as such, the public broadcaster has launched an “extensive election website with a result system directly linked to the Independent Electoral Commission’s website”.
“We also make sure that on social media, we are right there,” Minaar says. The SABC will be broadcasting from around 100 places around the country where it has outside broadcast vans, and roving reporters, many of whom will be live tweeting and people can follow them using #SABCelections and @SABC News Online as the Twitter handle for the broadcaster.
The broadcaster has invited voters to send their best election-day pictures or selfies to @SABCNewsOnline with hashtag #SABCelections. Some could their images on TV and the website. But Minnaar warns voters to remember taking a photo in the voting station is NOT permitted by the IEC. If you want to get the election results on your mobile phone, SMS the name of your province to 35657. SMSes cost R3.
eNCA and e.tv (channel 403, channel 194, DStv)
Normal programming will be interrupted as e.tv will be simulcasting the 2014 Elections coverage live with eNCA (channel 403 on DStv) from Wednesday, 7 May 2014 to Friday, 9 May 2014. e.tv and eNCA will deliver extensive live coverage from around the country, up-to-the-minute expert analysis and special reports of South Africa’s fifth democratic elections. Also, the eNCA team, domestic and international, will be doing extensive coverage of the elections and programming will also change. Late Nite News With Loyiso Gola will present an Election Specials 2014 show tomorrow night. eNCA has been using the hashtag @GetInked in its coverage in the run up to the elections.
The eNCA.com website has a special multimedia elections channel.
Technology has always been an important part of elections, says Jannie Momberg, editor in chief of News24. “The biggest difference between the 2009 and 2014 elections is the rise of social media. Facebook was around five years ago, but its growth locally has been phenomenal. Add in the rise of Twitter and the way political parties and people generally communicate has fundamentally changed,” he says.
Which is why 24.com has developed a free elections app designed to provide users with all the authoritative information and results from the 2014 national elections.
The news around a national election changes minute by minute. News24 focuses on breaking news but with this election we wanted to take it one step further and offer a dedicated application to voting savvy users which would ensure that this momentous election was covered in as much detail and as effectively as possible,” Momberg says.
News24 will also be offering extensive election coverage through their dedicated election pages at http://www.news24.com/Elections
ANN7 (channel 405, DStv)
Africa News Network7 (ANN7) has launched ‘SA Decides — My Vote. My Future’. “Our unprecedented path-breaking coverage is unrivaled in its depth and breadth,” ANN7 editor in-chief Moegsien Williams said, announcing details of the network’s plan. “As historic as the elections, our coverage is a paradigm shift in South Africa.”
Leader of the election teams, Margriet Coetzee, said the coverage would allow citizens “at ground zero” to air their views and that the journalists would “enable community debates by bringing together community leaders with local political and municipal leaders over public issues such as service delivery”
Al Jazeera (channel 406, DStv)
As 25 million registered South Africans prepare to go to polls on 7 May 2014, Al Jazeera will look back on 20 years of the country’s democracy. In-depth TV and online analysis will explore what happened to the dream of a ‘rainbow nation’ and why this year’s 29-party elections are expected to be the most fiercely contested since 1994.
“The election in South Africa is very important to us and our viewers right around the globe. Our coverage will cover all angles of the story, from our teams across the country. We will be hearing from people from across South Africa as they decide on which way to vote, and react to the outcome of this important election. Our comprehensive coverage will be available on all platforms and we will be engaging with our viewers throughout the election,” says Speaking about Al Jazeera’s South African election coverage, Al Anstey, managing director, Al Jazeera English.
Al Jazeera has three correspondents – Azad Essa, Haru Mutasa, and Tania Page – traveling across the country, from cities like Cape Town and Johannesburg to townships like Silvertown in the Eastern Cape.
Al Jazeera’s coverage will explore questions like: Why is the ANC rallying behind President Jacob Zuma despite an official probe finding that he personally benefited from a R246m ($22.5m) refurbishment of his Nkandla home? Why have opposition parties like The Democratic Alliance in South Africa historically failed to win more than a third of the vote? How is Julius Malema’s new Economic Freedom Fighters party tapping into discontent with the ANC, especially when it comes to inequality? How are the political parties using social media to target the ‘Born Free’ generation who will be voting for the first time this year?
The hashtags #AJSA and #SAElections will be tracked by the online team and the social media programme, The Stream. Follow Al Jazeera’s journalists in South Africa on Twitter at @azadessa, @harumutasa and @taniapage, using the hashtags #AJSA and #SAElections to be part of the conversation.
BBC World News
BBC World News is bringing extensive coverage of the South African elections to the channel. Presenter Zeinab Badawi, together with Milton Nkosi and Nomsa Maseko from the channel’s Johannesburg-based bureau team, will make sure audiences get the latest stories as results come in. Focus on Africa, the BBC’s daily news programme for African audiences and flagship weekly business programme Africa Business Report presented by Lerato Mbele, will provide context and analysis. There will also be dedicated online coverage.
BBC World News has also to Mxit in the tun up to and during South Africa’s upcoming general elections. It has launched a Mxit channel dedicated to the elections. The BBC’s Mxit channel will allow voters to have their say by submitting comments instantly. It will also distribute the best of the BBC’s coverage of the election via text updates, headlines, images, programme information and links to online coverage, all optimised for mobile.
Follow BBC News South Africa on Mxit by searching for the ID ‘BBCNewsSA’ and clicking ‘Invite’.
And then there’s State…
A new global opinion network has entered South African market on the eve of the elections. The ‘State mobile app links people via opinions, rather than personal, professional or social networks, and is making a major push into South Africa.
“With the important upcoming general election, all eyes are on South Africa”, said State co-founder, Alex Asseily. “We want to make the State web platform and our latest mobile app for iPhone available to all South Africans so that they can debate the issues and see how voter sentiment is shaping up”.
The State global opinion network is designed to give a powerful voice to everyone so that no one is left out. Often only the most popular, least tolerant or loudest get heard, commenting online is unsatisfying. Connections are even harder to come by. The State.com web platform and iPhone app, now available for download in the App Store, change that dynamic.
Mail & Guardian has a special elections site: http://mg.co.za/report/election-2014-a-special-report/
If you’re still confused about who to vote for, try City Press’s election quiz, ‘Who deserves my vote’. It might just help.
Twitter – hashtags and who to follow
Independent Electoral Commission @IECSouthAfrica
BBC World News @BBCWorld
Al Jazeera @AJEnglish
Helen Zille @helenzille
Agang SA @Agansa
Mamphela Ramphele @MamphelaRamphele
Julius Malema @Julius_S_Malema
Bantu Holomisa @BantuHolomisa