The second media monitoring report released by MISA Zambia shows that overall, the PF received significantly more coverage across all the four public media outlets than any of the other political parties.
The research was conducted from 23rd May to 29th June 2016 and specifically focuses on four public media outlets, namely ZNBC TV, ZNBC Radio 2, The Times of Zambia and Zambia Daily Mail.
The party with the second most coverage was the UPND but the coverage was half the amount of the coverage given to the PF party.
Other political parties received less than 10% coverage across the four media outlets.
This trend is similar to what was observed in the pre-election period media monitoring exercise.
The research also shows that the coverage of the MMD party, which is not competing in the presidential race, surpassed most of the other political parties participating in the presidential elections.
“In terms of the nature of coverage, the UPND party received more explicitly negative coverage compared to either the MMD party or the PF party, which consistently received more neutral or explicitly positive coverage,” the report says.
“On ZNBC TV 1 the PF party received nearly five times as much coverage (56%) as the next most covered party (UPND, with 12%).Furthermore, the MMD party, without a presidential candidate in this year’s election, received more coverage (9%) than other political parties who are actively involved in the presidential elections, such as UPP (5%), FDD (2%), Rainbow (2%), UNIP (2%) and the Green party (2%).”
It shows that the MMD had 88%) and UPP party received 80% more explicitly positive coverage than any other party while the UPND at 29% had the least number of explicitly positive stories on ZNBC TV.
Other political parties received a significant amount of neutral coverage for the majority of their stories.
The report also shows that election campaigns at 39% and election related violence at 8% including political alliances at 7% were the most covered key themes by ZNBC TV 1 during the monitored campaign period.
The report also shows that female candidates have not been allocated enough space during the election campaign.
“Across the 4 media outlets monitoring approximately 77% of coverage was devoted to male candidates and personalities. ZNBC TV1 stands outs with a fairly balanced gender coverage.”
The report which was authored by MISA Zambia, the Media Liaison Committee with technical support from BBC Media Action recommended increased coverage and discussion on topics relevant to the population so that the electorate can make an informed choice.
It also called for balance of coverage for the different political players in 2016 tripartite elections noting that that the heavy bias towards the PF should be balanced with a more equitable and fair coverage of the other political parties.
It also wants increased points of view, multiple voices and perspectives to ensure that a diversity of views is represented and increased coverage of women players in the tripartite elections.