Exploring the coverage of political issues/news in Ukhozi FM news programme, Abasiki Bebunda, in July 2016.
Gamede, Sanele Justice.
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The study explores the political coverage in the South African Broadcasting Corporation’s (SABC) weekday news programme, Abasiki Bebunda, in July 2016 a month that preceded the 2016 local government elections. The purpose of the research was to answer the following research questions: what political issues/news did Abasiki Bebunda cover; to explore transparency of the show in reporting news and biasness towards certain political parties; how far did the show allow public participation during this show; and finally, to find out if the show play its role a news programme, or it has been turned in to a platform from which political parties conducted their public relations campaigns, and used it for their political gain? Conducting the research, the researcher used the show Abasiki Bebunda as a case study to explore the political coverage in the programme and to answer the questions outlined above. The data was collected through audio recordings, which were bought from SABC, which contained the recordings of the show throughout July 2016. The methodology employed by the research successfully provided answers to the questions posed. The study revealed that the show had different themes and different types of news, such as local, national and international news. The research revealed that the show was had a greatly structured, especially because of its timeslot, the late afternoon primetime, which made it very attractive to the listeners. It also revealed that there was more coverage given to the African National Congress (ANC). This indicated that the show covered more ANC related news other political parties, because there were a number of political parties that were not covered in the show, or that received very little coverage. The data revealed that the show allowed public participation and it created an active public sphere in which the public was able to participate during the show. The show was still a vehicle for news reporting, and on balance, it had not been hijacked by political parties although the data reveals more coverage of the ANC.