Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Stark difference in how eNCA, SABC News and ANN7 on DStv are covering the chaos as parliament erupts with student protests and stun grenades.

South Africa's three 24-hour TV news channels on Wednesday afternoon showed stark and dramatic differences in how they covered the news - and all the news - when thousands of students flooded the South African parliamentary precinct as chaos erupted and police used stun grenades and tear gas.

eNCA (DStv 403) with Lester Kiewit was brilliant, together with Andrew Barnes, reporting live amidst the chaos and historic scenes embarrassing parliament and the South African government.

SABC News (DStv 404) remained focused on the minister of finance giving his budget speech. Eventually by 15:15 SABC News started giving some of the student protest perspective with reporting over the phone from Nomawethu Solwandle, followed by reporting from Francis Herd.

ANN7 (DStv 405) showed student protest visuals but did it phone-in with Kevin Brandt.

eNCA's coverage was by far superior on Wednesday afternoon, being in the middle of the action and staying there during the chaos.

Lester Kiewit's reporting was brilliant, literally trying to cover all the angles on the steps of parliament, interviewing students, and trying to interview the unresponsive minister of state security until he was physically pushed away.

ANN7 was a far second, although it improved somewhat during the Wednesday afternoon. ANN7 made a lot of mistakes, like calling the parliament protests "UCT", meaning "University of Cape Town" several times due to a very inexperienced anchor in Midrand.

The SABC News coverage was hopelessly bad, inadequate, skewed. There was no interviews, no stand-and-report coverage. Watching just SABC News, a viewers wouldn't get any real sense of what was actually happening outside parliament.