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JOURNALISM AND THE MEDIA IN CRISIS
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Journalists are essential workers in maintaining a vibrant democracy, and through their reporting help to strengthen accountability and transparency.  Yet, just when we need to strengthen accountability and transparency through effective reporting many media houses are experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19 and many journalists are losing their jobs.

According to SANEF’s COVID19 Impact on Journalism Report published in June 2020, the industry is facing retrenchments and at least 80 smaller publishing houses are closing their doors. Already over 700 journalists have lost their jobs. Freelancers had been particularly badly affected and The Southern African Freelancers' Association (SAFREA) has reported that 60 percent of their members had lost almost 70 percent of their income – and that some of their members had lost 80 percent to 100 percent.

The crisis seems to be deepening with announcements this week by Media 24 of a loss of 510 jobs and the SABC has announced that it will be retrenching approximately 600 people. This means job losses will grow and could be even higher with the announcement from Primedia, owner of 702, KFM and CapeTalk and national news brand EWN, that they too are contemplating job cuts.
 
To begin to mitigate the short-term hardships the South African National Editors' Forum (SANEF) has launched a relief fund in support of journalists who have lost their jobs. The Social Justice Initiative (SJI) will act as a fiscal host for the fund and play an oversight role to ensure that all funds are fairly and transparently distributed.

The Relief Fund has received an initial contribution by MTN SA of R500,000 and a further sum of R500,00 from First Rand. MTN has promised to encourage larger corporates, companies in the supply chains, clients and individuals to contribute. This initiative is a small first step to assist the industry.

Moderator: 

Glenda Daniels, award-winning journalist, radio and television presenter, columnist and author 

Glenda Daniels is an associate professor in the media studies department at the University of the Witwatersrand, in Johannesburg, South Africa. She has a PhD in Political Studies (2011), is a media freedom and diversity activist and a feminist. She is also a rated scholar with the National Research Foundation (NRF). Daniels chairs the Diversity and Ethics sub-committee at the SANEF, serves on the executive of the South African Communication Association (Sacomm), is on the board of the Press Council of South Africa and is an editorial advisory board member at Journalism Studies.

She was a journalist in the print media industry for many years. Her interests are media and politics, state of the newsroom, democracy theory, the role of the media in a democracy, freedom of expression and cyber-misogyny. Daniels is author of the books: Fight for Democracy: the ANC and media in South Africa (2012, Wits Press), Glass Ceilings: women in South African media Houses, 2018 (2018, Gender Links), and Power and Loss in South African Journalism: news in the age of social media (2020, Wits Press) 


Panelists:

  • Sibusiso Ngalwa,  SANEF Management Committee and Political Editor at Newzroom Afrika. 

    Sbu Ngalwa is an experienced journalist with 18 years experience. Sbu has previously held a number of senior positions at various publications - including as Politics Editor at the Sunday Times and Editor-in-Chief of the Daily Dispatch and DispatchLive.

    He has also worked as a Parliamentary Correspondent for Independent Newspapers. He is currently the Politics Editor at Newzroom Afrika - DStv Channel 405

     

  • Wandile Fana, Chairperson of the Association of Independent Publishers.

    Wandile  Fana is a 44 year old veteran community media entrepreneur and activist who started Skawara News, a Xhosa Newspaper, in 2006 in Cofimvaba, Eastern Cape. A subsidiary company, Skawara Publishers, has to date published over 20 books mostly in Xhosa and established the Skawara  website which is a syndication platform for community newspapers.

    Wandile is a fellow at the Kettering Foundation in the US, serves as the Chairman of Association of Independent Publishers, and is a media adjudicator with The Press Council of South Africa. Wandile is a founding member of the Eastern Cape Community Media Forum (ECCF), as well as a founding member of advertising cooperative called Eastern Province Community Print Media which facilitates advertising to community newspapers around the Eastern Cape.

    Wandile is a part of  the Eastern Cape Covid-19 People’s Coalition. Wandile Fana is also a freelance investigative journalist who runs media workshops for community organisations(NGO’s, unions , CBO’s) around Nelson Mandela Metro to encourage communities to have their own media platforms(voice) and people to understand the importance of the Press Code.

     

  • Jaqui O’ Sullivan,  Executive, Corporate Affairs, MTN South Africa

    Jaqui O’Sullivan is the Executive Corporate Affairs, MTN South Africa. She has served in this role since October 2017. 

    O’Sullivan joined MTN SA from Telkom where she served as Group Executive: Communication & Brand Marketing since 2014. Prior to that, she served as Vice President for Group Communication & Brand Marketing at Sasol for six years.

    O’Sullivan has previously served as Communications Manager for Motorola, responsible for Africa and Middle East and was also Head of Communications and Corporate Social Investment for South African Airways. She also served as a communications manager for Airports Company South Africa responsible for O R Tambo International Airport.

    Prior to this she was a producer on Talk Radio 702, SAfm and editor of SAfm Online. She holds a BA degree from the University of Stellenbosch, with majors in Political Science and English.

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