SANEF holds successful, first council meeting for the year

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This past Saturday, the South African National Editors’ Forum (SANEF) held a successful Council meeting in Cape Town, which was addressed by DKMS-Africa and Brand South Africa.

 

The Council meeting sets the tone for the year for SANEF, on the programme of action and media-related issues the organisation needs to focus on this year.

 

DKMS-Africa is a non-profit organisation, whose communications director, Palesa Mokomele, addressed the Council on the work they do, and what role the media can play in spreading the word about blood cancer and its associated disorders.

Brand SA addressed the Council meeting on the country’s standing in the international arena and how the media’s reporting on the country influences perceptions about South Africa.

 

Freelancers’ plight

 

The struggles faced by freelance journalists and the treatment that they receive from some news media organisations were discussed, after a presentation by Anton Harber.

 

SANEF agreed to partner with the Henry Nxumalo Foundation to commission research on the current state of freelancers, and what possible solutions can be found to address some of the challenges they face.

 

SANEF agrees on election suggestions to Big Tech

 

Social media platforms are asked to work with the South African news media to co-create a conducive information environment for the upcoming elections. The aim is to reduce the potential for disinformation, harassment, and hate speech that could harm the integrity of the poll.

 

It follows a successful workshop held with Media Monitoring Africa in January to predict information-related risks to the elections and suggest how social media could help to address these.

 

SANEF is especially concerned for the safety of journalists online, as well as the prospect that social media could be weaponised to foment violence and intimidate voters into silence.

 

The Council meeting adopted a detailed document [https://sanef.org.za/wp-content/uploads/2024/02/ANNEXURE-B-Access-to-Information-and-Media-Policy-subcommittee-report-election-risks.pdf], setting out risks to freedom of expression and access to information, and suggested steps to counter these.

 

SANEF is now inviting the major social media companies to discuss the proposals, and the Forum is also requesting an audience with the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Communications and Digital Technologies.

 

* The Council called on the government, state institutions, and political parties, to use websites as the primary and original location for all official statements. Ideally, statements should include a link to the page on which they are published. Once this happens, it’s fine to distribute on social media platforms.

 

This will help journalists verify the authenticity of statements that are put out on social media. Journalists need to know if a statement being circulated is genuine. SANEF notes that websites are owned and fully controlled by the institutions issuing the statement, unlike when they post their content on social media. Further, not all journalists or members of the public are on all the social media platforms, and statements can be hard to find there.

 

Further, SANEF reiterates its call for political parties and candidates to respect the Electoral Code of Conduct, which has a clear media safety clause.

 

GroundUp’s complaint against one newspaper getting favourable advertising

 

Council also discussed a call for an independent inquiry into allegations – published by GroundUp – that the National Lotteries Commission under its previous board, had spent a disproportionate amount of its budget on one newspaper and in return appeared to have received favourable editorial coverage. The call for an inquiry was made by Anton Harber, arguing that allegations of breach of editorial ethics were serious and required SANEF’s appropriate action.

 

The Council decided against an inquiry and rather resolved that the matter was within the jurisdiction and scope of the Press Council, which must be asked to hear the matter urgently and make a ruling.

 

Note to Editors:

The South African National Editors’ Forum (SANEF) is a non-profit organisation whose members are editors, senior journalists, and journalism trainers from all areas of South African media. We are committed to championing South Africa’s hard-won freedom of expression and promoting quality, ethics, and diversity in the South African media. We promote excellence in journalism through fighting for media freedom, writing policy submissions, research, and education and training programmes. SANEF is not a union.

 

For more information please contact:

Sbu Ngalwa – SANEF Chairperson (073) 404-1415

Nwabisa Makunga – SANEF Deputy Chairperson (082) 555-1972

Dr. Glenda Daniels – SANEF Acting Secretary-General 083) 229-9708

Tshamano Makhadi – Treasurer-General (082) 223 0621

Makhudu Sefara – SANEF Media Freedom Chair (079) 177-2134

Judy Sandison – SANEF KZN Convenor (082) 571-3334

Heather Robertson – SANEF Acting Gauteng Convenor (083) 308 5618

Rochelle De Kock – SANEF Eastern Cape Convenor (072) 969-8028

Reggy Moalusi – SANEF Executive Director (071) 682-3695

Twitter: @SAEditorsForum

Email: admin@sanef.org.za