Publications 2014

Gender on the agenda
by Sandra Banjac and Lethabo Dibetso

The research study had a three-pronged approach to exploring masculinity in media. Firstly, the project analysed media content which collected over 21,000 words associated with male and female sources in order to find linguistic patterns between different sexes and their portrayals in the media. Secondly, male, female and mixed-sex focus groups were presented with excerpts from media articles dealing with gender issues that would elicit masculine or feminine reactions, in order to assess men’s and women’s perceptions of masculinity in relation to issues that affect both sexes. Lastly, the project was rounded off by conducting interviews with journalists, who were shown the findings of the media analysis to get their reactions to gendered language, as well as the findings from focus group discussions on particular topics to generate discussion on methods of reporting on such issues, by journalists. Some of the key findings are:
Men continue to be the most frequently accessed sources. Out of 1207 sources monitored and analysed, only 20 per cent were women.
Media and society do not display or expose men to alternative versions of masculinity, which would begin to normalize behaviours, experiences and spaces traditionally associated with women.
Although pregnancy was understood as an outcome of both sexes, girls were blamed for choosing to have sex in the first place and accused of doing so with multiple partners, resulting in the boys’ dismissal of responsibility for the child.

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Government secrecy in an information age 2014
By Media Institute of Southern Africa.

This study carried out between June and July 2014, seeks to establish levels of transparency in public institution in Southern Africa. The study currently in its fifth year,  points out that the majority of institutions remain rather closed and averse to placing information in the public domain.
The findings also highlight the difficulties faced by Southern African when trying to seek, access and receive information from public bodies. The research, conducted by eight different MISA chapters in the region, again revealed the lack of openness, transparency and accessibility on the part of public institutions, as well as their reluctance to disclose information proactively or respond to specific requests for public information,although there has been a significant improvement with respect to the use of information communication technologies (ICTs) across the region.

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Election watch: FAQs on electoral procedures
by the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN), the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), fesmedia Africa, the regional media project of the Friedrich- Ebert-Stiftung (FES),

The trio collaborated to run a survey on frequently asked questions (FAQs) by the public on electoral procedures that took place on the 28 November 2014. The questions and answers which cover: 1. basic voting procedures, 2. the use of electronic voting machines, 3. the role of the ECN, parties and observers, and 4. how votes will be counted and announced, have been compiled in the IPPR Bulletin Election Watch supported by the European Union.

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Empowering Our Whistleblowers
By Gabriella Razzano

In 2010 the Open Democracy Advice Centre undertook a comprehensive review of the state of whistleblowing in South Africa, entitled " The Status of Whistleblowing (2010). Three years on, the whistleblowing landscape is due another review. Research demonstrates that progress has not merely halted in the current context, but that in fact South Africa appears increasingly hostile to whistleblowing activities. It is not just legislative provisions that may require review, but other broader environmental recommendations are also needed in order to properly enable whistleblowing.

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