Johannesburg - The voices of mine workers featured little in media reports on last year's strike-related unrest at Lonmin's Marikana mine in North West, academic Jane Duncan said on Monday.
“Most journalists relied on official sources of information, such as spokespersons and from big business,” said Duncan, who is chairwoman of the Highway Africa Chair of Media and the Information Society at Rhodes University.
“Quite a few journalists engaged the miners themselves to hear what they had to say.”
She was presenting a report on how the unrest in Marikana was covered by media.
The seminar was hosted by the Institute for the Advancement of Journalism and titled “Reporting South Africa's Policing Crisis:
Marikana One Year Later”.
Duncan did her research by going through media reports that covered the unrest.
She said reports, including editorials, were laden with judgements which indicated that the striking miners were the most violent compared to police.
“The reports showed that the workers' violence was of great proportions compared to that by the police... which is not true.”
Reporting behind the police line made journalists see the events the same way police saw them.
“In this way, most journalists could not see that more of the workers were being brutally killed behind the koppie, as it later emerged.”
Friday marks a year since the shooting at Lonmin's Marikana mine.
On August 16, 34 people, almost all miners, were killed in a clash with police. Ten people, including police officers and security guards, died in the unrest during the week before.