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Original Research

An evaluation of the functionality and delivery of websites of political parties in South Africa

Maria Crossland, Wallace Chigona

SA Journal of Information Management; Vol 12, No 1 (2010), 5 pages. doi: 10.4102/sajim.v12i1.453

Submitted: 08 September 2010
Published:  09 November 2010

Abstract

The political communication environment worldwide has been transformed by the Internet with websites providing opportunities for affordable information dissemination and reception. Internationally, a party contesting an election without a website seems impossible today. This exploratory study examines the use of websites by political parties during the 2009 South African elections and investigates the functionality offered by the websites as well as how effectively this functionality is delivered. The study analysed the websites of both large and small political parties. It is worth noting that in spite of the lower Internet penetration rates in South Africa, the majority of political parties contesting the 2009 elections had websites. The study shows that the websites of the larger parties generally offer more functionality than those of the smaller parties, supporting the view of ‘normalisation’ of party competition in cyberspace. However, an analysis of the delivery of the content does not confirm the normalisation effects.

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Author affiliations

Maria Crossland, University of Cape Town, South Africa
Wallace Chigona, University of Cape Town, South Africa

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