Johannesburg - The ANC has lost a third of its media presence compared to the year prior to the 2009 elections, Media Tenor said on Tuesday.
“With only months left until the elections, the ANC has lost its dominance in the media and faces the prospect of losing further confidence in its president, Jacob Zuma,” the media research institute said.
Zuma's reputation showed no signs of recovering.
According to an analysis of the country's political climate between January 2011 and December 2013, opposition party coverage made up just under half (48 percent) of the share of the coverage last year.
This was compared to 2009, when opposition parties were only getting 28 percent of the coverage.
Media Tenor's senior researcher Stephano Radaelli said this did not bode well for the African National Congress.
“This means that the opportunity for resonance with other political parties is higher.”
The research showed that Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema's media image was improving.
“Should his media image continue to improve, this will see more sympathy for him and his party's views,” said Radaelli.
“Unless Jacob Zuma can restore his own reputation in the media and show more consistency in this regard, the ANC is unlikely to appeal to people seeking effective leadership from the party.”
According to Media Tenor's findings, the ANC's stance on job creation lacked credibility. To create some confidence the party had to deliver on this and it would need to rely on government's reputation.
The study was based on the analysis of 141,255 statements on political parties and 101,445 statements on Jacob Zuma in 47
opinion-leading print and TV news items.
The institute said a dominant political presence in the media ahead of elections was key in order to remain relevant.
According to the analysis the ANC had 53 percent share of the media coverage, while the Democratic Alliance had 31 percent and EFF four percent. Other political parties had 12 percent.
“(Last year) has proven challenging for Jacob Zuma and Helen Zille as both their media images have been unstable,” Media Tenor said.
“Respectively, scandals and protests have set a negative precedent in the media, and as such neither have been able to see their media image recover for long.”