Global Mandela TV coverage dwindles: researcher
Very few international TV broadcasters have remained interested in reporting on former president Nelson Mandela, according to a media research company.
Only South Africa had provided enough coverage of his health and legacy, which was keeping him topical, Media Tenor SA found.
“We expected local media to keep focusing on the former statesman going into July given that this has always been a topical month for him,” senior researcher Stephano Radaelli said in a statement on Friday.
“In addition, our research suggests that South Africans would feel that the news in the past two months has only been focusing on Nelson Mandela and his family.”
In 2009, July 18, Mandela’s birthday, was declared as Mandela Day in South Africa to honour the former statesman. The United Nations has declared July 18 as International Nelson Mandela Day.
Radaelli said that Media Tenor SA believed that many people in some parts of Europe were wondering what happened to Mandela as the latest news they would remember hearing was that his health was critical.
He said most of the other global media, who were still interested in Mandela, had turned away from the negative issue his health and had begun to focus more on his legacy.
Media Tenor SA found at the beginning of July that South Africa and France were the only countries whose media coverage of Mandela focused on his legacy rather than his health.
However, Mandela’s family had received “dire media coverage” in South Africa, the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia in July.
“Fortunately, the negative coverage affecting his family’s reputation has not affected Nelson Mandela’s own image,” Radaelli said.
Media Tenor SA found that the Mandela family were more topical than G8 leaders on global TV news in July.
Earlier this month, the High Court in Mthatha, Eastern Cape ordered Mandela’s grandson Mandla Mandela to return the remains of his grandfather’s three children to Qunu from Mvezo, where he moved them two years ago.
The court order came after an application against Mandla Mandela by 15 members of the Mandela family, including Nelson Mandela’s wife Graca Machel.
The remains are those of Mandela’s eldest son Madiba Thembekile, who died in a car accident in 1969; Mandla Mandela’s father Makgatho Mandela, who died in 2005; and Mandela’s first daughter Makaziwe Mandela, who died as an infant in 1948.
Mandela spent his 95th birthday at the Medi-Clinic Heart Hospital in Pretoria. He was admitted on June 8 for a recurring lung infection.
Presidency spokesman Mac Maharaj said in a statement on Thursday that Mandela’s health was steadily improving.