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SANEF calls for better treatment of staff as journalists face retrenchments

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14 November 2023

The South African National Editors’ Forum (SANEF) has noted with concern the new rounds of retrenchments at various media houses, leading to fewer journalists in newsrooms, and less diversity and plurality of voices in South Africa.

As the media, we take the role we play in our constitutional democracy seriously, hence the continued retrenchments of journalists should concern every citizen. At a primary level, journalists empower citizens with information to help them make decisions about their lives and hold those in power to account.

The spectre of retrenchments is not good news for the media industry, which will go on to affect the ability of the industry to carry out its journalistic work of being the eyes and ears of society.

While SANEF does acknowledge that retrenchments are sometimes inevitable – as media houses struggle to survive – we call on media house owners to treat journalists fairly and with respect during this process. Owners and management should act within the letter of the law in terms of retrenchment packages. When journalists, during retrenchments, are let go, they deserve to be offered remuneration that is due to them, – in line with the separation agreements accepted by all the affected parties.

SANEF continues, through initiatives such as the Community Media Digitisation project, to be invested in seeing long-term solutions for media sustainability. This project recognises that community media is also faced with various challenges, in a tough economic climate, hence it aims to empower them on how they can diversify their content distribution and revenue options, including digital platforms that can lead to growth.

As SANEF, we are also forging ahead with the plans to set up a Journalism Sustainability Fund.

As the media industry continues to bleed, and more strain is put on the quality of journalism, we should also equally worry about the mental wellness of our journalists.

It’s in this light that SANEF continues to partner with the SA Depression and Anxiety Group. Journalists seeking mental health support can email [email protected] or call 011 234 4837. Not only will their consultation be kept confidential, but they will also be attended by a professional who is well-versed on issues and pressures that affect the media industry.

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

Qaanitah Hunter – SANEF Secretary-General

Tshamano Makhadi – Treasurer-General (082) 223 0621

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

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

Dr. Glenda Daniels – SANEF Gauteng Convenor (083) 229-9708

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

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

Twitter: @SAEditorsForum

Email: [email protected]

Website: www.sanef.org.za