The South African National Editors’ Forum (Sanef) claims freedom of the press and media in under stacked, the group made the remarks during their panel at the commemoration of World Press Freedom Day.
Sanef said journalists are faced with attacks on all fronts from fake news, and deliberate online and digital campaigns that undermine journalism in Mzansi, while some see the industry as the enemy of the state.
During the panel discussion, Nwabisa Makunga, Sanef treasurer-general and Sowetan editor said, “In South Africa, the media has been positioned as the enemy of the people and transformation; a narrative that has led to a trust deficient from communities.”
“But journalists are doing their job – reflecting the truth. We must not jump on the bandwagon. 1994 is still fresh in our memory and how media can hype up a situation. Regardless of attacks on journalists, we need to record our role as correctly as we can,” adds Makunga.
Some of the panellists suggest now is the time for the journalism industry to take stock and reflect on some of their own deeds and account to move forward.
“As with all freedoms, media freedom comes with responsibilities. When we advocate for media freedom, we have to ensure that we behave responsibly, practising ethical journalism all the time, subscribing to the basic fundamentals, such as the right of reply,” said Katy Katopodis, Sanef convenor for Gauteng and Newzroom Africa news director.
“As a media fraternity, we hold a very fragile democracy in our hands and we have to be conscious of that,” she says, adding that the media holding itself accountable and building trust is what will make it stronger and better.
Is Press Freedom under attack, What do you think?