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SANEF laments the impending closure of historic Media24 Print Publications

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18 June 2024

The South African National Editors’ Forum (SANEF) expresses its profound sadness that Media24 is shutting down the print operations of some of its most iconic print publications, including City Press, Rapport, Beeld, and Daily Sun.

About 400 jobs are expected to be lost.

These titles have been a cornerstone of the South African media landscape, providing essential news coverage and insightful commentary for decades.

SANEF notes the response to the reports by Ishmet Davidson, CEO of Media24, undertaking to continue to consult with staff about any potential and subsequent actions and remain committed to following due process.

SANEF acknowledges the challenging economic environment that Media24 and other media establishments in the print sector are navigating. The financial pressures arising from escalating distribution costs, diminishing advertising revenue, and a readership migration to online platforms are undeniably significant.

Media24 said in a statement: “There is no doubt whatsoever that our future is digital. But our digital news services no longer face competition from only other local publishers. Our main competitors now are Facebook, Google, Instagram and TiutTok; all which are well funded and based offshore.”

However, SANEF had hoped that the devastating wave of media shutdowns experienced during the COVID-19 crisis, which nearly obliterated the magazine and community media sectors and led to relentless retrenchments in the mainstream media, had finally subsided. The potential closure of these iconic titles represents a setback more severe than anticipated.

In light of this dire situation, SANEF is encouraged that Media24 plans to explore alternative solutions to preserve these historic publications while adapting to the evolving media landscape. Migrating these cherished print titles to robust digital platforms could provide a viable path forward, ensuring their legacy and continued service to South African readers. Such a transition would not only safeguard jobs but also maintain the diversity and richness of our media ecosystem.

Unfortunately the news of about 400 job losses is a pain that is too much for the industry to bear.

SANEF stands ready to support Media24 and other media houses in navigating these turbulent times. The preservation of journalistic integrity and the continuation of a free, independent press are of paramount importance to our democracy.

We call upon Media24 to engage in open and transparent consultations with all stakeholders, including staff, readers, and industry partners, to find sustainable solutions that honour the legacy of these publications and secure their future in the digital age.

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 by 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
  • Dr. Glenda Daniels – SANEF Secretary-General (083) 229-9708
  • Tshamano Makhadi – Treasurer-General (082) 223-0621
  • Makhudu Sefara – SANEF Media Freedom Chair (079) 177-2134
  • Katy Katopodis – SANEF Wellness and Safety Chair (082) 805-7022
  • Judy Sandison – SANEF KZN Convenor (082) 571-3334
  • Rochelle De Kock – SANEF Eastern Cape Convenor (072) 969-8028
  • Reggy Moalusi – SANEF Executive Director (071) 682-3695