Censorship, attacks on journalists: Sanef 'concerned' about state of media
In a special webinar, senior media practitioners cited budget cuts within newsrooms and external attacks on the media as a threat to the long-term sustainability of the industry.
JOHANNESBURG - South African editors have used the World Press Freedom Day commemorations to paint a bleak picture about the state of the country’s media industry.
3 May is observed annually as a day of support for media.
In a special webinar organised by the South African National Editors’ Forum (Sanef) senior media practitioners cited budget cuts within newsrooms and external attacks on the media as a threat to the long-term sustainability of the industry.
Sanef’s Gauteng convener Katy Katopodis said, “There are worrying trends that are happening internationally. I was reading, with some grave concern, the latest report from the International Press Institute. They’ve documented 356 attacks on journalists, acts of censorship and serious violations of media freedom. This is just around the war between Russia and Ukraine. That I think is worrying for us. Seven journalists have been killed.”
Sanef treasurer general Nwabisa Makunga said the media industry faced some major challenges.
She said the COVID-19 pandemic had left newsrooms poorer with less resources. Added to this, the media had to contend with external forces seeking to discredit the work of journalists.
“I have deep concern in South Africa that the media, because of nefarious political reasons has been positioned as entity that is the enemy of people and anti-transformation,” she said.
A diverse panel, which also included representatives of community media, has suggested a strong need for greater partnerships between the media and communities as one of the tools to ensure the long-term sustainability of the industry.