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SANEF is saddened to learn of the closure of New Frame

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The South African National Editors’ Forum is saddened to learn that New Frame is closing its publication after the funder pulled the plug.

Launched on 16 August 2018, on the sixth anniversary of the massacre of striking miners at Marikana, New Frame is closing barely weeks away from the tenth anniversary of the Marikana massacre shattering the country’s hopes of sustainable and growing independent media voices.

We note that it came into existence offering the South African public unique news coverage that gave due weight and dignity to the lives and struggles of ordinary people. It was also an initiative that while beginning its work from Johannesburg, promised to progressively become a more pan-African publication in terms of both reach and orientation. As a result, it earned itself a rare brand of being referred to as the ‘people’s media house’ by its well-wishers and admirers within the noticeably short space of its existence.

SANEF has lamented the dilapidating state of the media as we witnessed the country’s small and independent publishers, community print and broadcasters as well as big multiplatform media companies retrenching hundreds of journalists, due to the negative impact of COVID-19 since 2020.

The demise of New Frame also comes at a time when SANEF is seized with the critical national debate on potential public funding models to sustain news media platforms in the country.

The New Frame editorial noted on Monday that “there is no commercial model to sustain it … there is no constituency within the public willing and able to fund it at a viable scale.”

We are also grappling with the nature of state-managed subsidies, which could be raised by taxation on the big data companies to sustain media for the public good to play its role in our democracy.

SANEF wishes to stress that the closure could be avoided if a funder comes forward to support this fresh and significant voice, which has added crucial diversity and plurality to the media landscape.

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:

Sbu Ngalwa – SANEF Chairperson (073) 404-1415

Nwabisa Makunga – SANEF Deputy Chairperson (082) 555-1972

Tshamano Makhadi – Treasurer-General (082) 223 0621

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

Asanda Ngoasheng – Western Cape Convenor – 082 610-9374

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

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

Chiara Carter – Acting SANEF Eastern Cape Convenor (082) 659-9162

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

Twitter: @SAEditorsForum

Email: [email protected]