Listening Post
The media's role in African elections
We investigate why Nigerians have lost trust in their news media and if cartoonist Zapiro has crossed a line.
Last Modified: 28 Apr 2011 13:44
Media reports predicted the result of the Nigerian presidential election [EPA]

This week, we are focusing on one continent: Africa. After a look at the media's role in the recent Nigerian elections, we will shift to the upcoming polls in Zambia, and a second helping of South African satire.

Our News Divide starts in Africa's most populated country, Nigeria. Nigerians have just re-elected President Goodluck Jonathan who, living up to his name, won almost 60 per cent of the vote. Violence ensued after allegations of vote rigging in the Muslim North, followed media reports predicting the elections result, and margin, in the mostly Christian South.

Next, we turn our attention to the media conditions in Zambia in the run up to its election. Like in many African states, independent media struggles to be heard; battling against the dominance of a state-run media that constantly pays lip-service to the authorities. Journalists are often punished if they report negatively on the government. So for many Zambians getting an accurate idea of the politicians activities in the country can be tricky. But as the Listening Post's Adnan Ahmed discovered, despite government censorship and domineering politicians, people's voices are finally being heard.

Jacob Zuma, South Africa's president, is a satirist's delight. Corruption scandals, rape allegations and extramarital affairs make him an easy target. But did the country's leading satirist, Jonathan Shapiro cross the line after drawing a cartoon of the president preparing to rape Lady Justice?

Zuma clearly thought so, and sued Shapiro. Zapiro – as he is known more commonly – has been a thorn in South Africa's government for decades. From the apartheid years, until now, he has not slowed down. And, with the help of a French producer, he is now taking his caricatures from print to the screen. But the transition is proving difficult. Listening Post's Nick Muirhead caught up with Zapiro in Cape Town to talk about his cartoons, his new show, and his looming legal showdown with the country's president.

We are staying with Zapiro's creations for our Web Video of the Week. His latex puppet show teamed up with Freshly Ground - a popular South African band - only this time he set his satirical sights a little further afield. Robert Mugabe might run a pretty tight ship in Zimbabwe but that does not mean he is beyond the grasp of some good old-fashioned South African satire. We hope you enjoy the show.

Listening Post can be seen each week at the following times GMT: Saturday: 0830, 1930; Sunday: 1430; Monday: 0430.

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