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International Fact-Checking Day:  Join the fight against COVID-19 disinformation

The South African National Editors’ Forum (SANEF) calls on citizens to help in the fight against disinformation and “fake” news by checking COVID-19 related information received on social  media against reports in credible news media, official government information and fact checking services – and to never forward unverified information to others.

This call is made in support of international efforts led by the World Health Organisation to fight the infodemic of misinformation about the coronavirus and coincides with the annual April 2 International Fact-Checking Day, promoted by the International Fact-Checking Network in partnership with fact-checking organizations around the world, including Africa Check in South Africa.

The South African news media have provided in-depth coverage of the pandemic, verifying and reflecting the latest information, including efforts to debunk fake news distributed on social media. We have highlighted dedicated health coverage on websites such as  Bhekisisa and Health-e News.

The government’s COVID-19 regulations state that anyone that creates or spreads fake news about the coronavirus is liable for prosecution; and have set up a special website on the pandemic in South Africa, including a section on “fake news”.

As part of the national effort SANEF has committed to assisting government to communicate information pertaining to the spread and containment of the virus, ensuring the safety of journalists covering the disease and counteracting disinformation and misinformation – and provides regular updates on media industry efforts.

Members of the public can also report dodgy news and disinformation on the Real411 website, or directly to the Press Council or the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of SA.

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 the 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:

Izak Minnaar – SANEF Council member (082) 412-8862

Mahlatse Mahlase – SANEF Chairperson, (083) 399-2852

Mary Papayya – Acting SANEF Media Freedom Chair (082) 379-4957

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

Sbu Ngalwa – SANEF Eastern Cape Convenor (073) 404-1415

Janet Heard – SANEF Western Cape SANEF Convenor, (078) 041-9528

Hopewell Radebe – SANEF Acting Gauteng Regional Convenor (083) 582-1734

Kate Skinner – SANEF Executive Director – (082) 926-6404  

Twitter: @SAEditorsForum

Email: [email protected] Website: www.sanef.org.za

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