Elections 2024: Will the media be objective?

‘Elections 2024: Will the media be objective?’ -Thabile Mange. Photographer: Leon Lestrade / Independent Newspapers.

‘Elections 2024: Will the media be objective?’ -Thabile Mange. Photographer: Leon Lestrade / Independent Newspapers.

Published Mar 10, 2024


Not long ago, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the date of the elections as May 29.

The day will be declared a public holiday to allow citizens to vote. A high voter turn-out, especially among the youth, who make up the majority, is expected.

Political pundits say the 2024 elections will be a game-changer. There might be a shift in power and coalition governments might be the order of the day.

Independent candidates will also take part in the general elections for the first time. The ANC has been in power for 30 years, uninterrupted. That’s a long time, especially in a so-called democracy.

This shows the faith voters had in the governing party. Did voters get a return on their investment by voting for the governing party? There is no easy answer.

There is a possibility that the ANC could lose power and warm the opposition benches.

There is also a possibility that it could retain power. The truth is, Cyril Ramaphosa’s party remains popular with the masses. There is no political party that can individually dethrone it from power.

Interestingly, more than 600 political parties are going to take part in the elections. That’s a lot of administrative work for the trusted Electoral Commission of South Africa.

What will the ballot paper look like? Will the names of all the political parties fit on one ballot paper? I wonder.

A role-player I am interested in is the media. Given the high number of political parties taking part, how is the media going to cover the elections?

Will small parties be given fair coverage? In most cases, small parties are compromised.

What about independent candidates? They need the media to spread their messages. It’s almost impossible for them to reach all corners of the country, given their capacity. I am yet to see a poster of an independent candidate. Will the media come to their rescue?

While this is going to be an interesting and exciting time for the media, it’s also going to be challenging.

The media will probably be accused of being biased towards certain political parties. Its objectivity and flexibility will also be put to the test. Will it pass the litmus test? Only time will tell.

* Thabile Mange, Gauteng.

** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.

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