CDM together with Government Communications and Information Systems (GCIS) hosted a successful community media training workshop at the municipality’s council chamber on 12 March 2019.
The training was aimed at assisting them with understanding and having information about the role of the other institutions involved in the mainstream media and how to go about sharpening their skills in the field.
The training touched on issues such as 4th industrial revolution by the National Electronic Media Institute of SA (NEMISA), the role of community media by the Media Diversity and Development Agency (MDDA), and with the general elections coming soon, the IEC spoke substantially about opinion polls & reporting during election season.
MMC Cllr Jara Masubelele told the attendants that “in the era of fake news such as this, which undermines our faith in the community media and threatens the very foundation of our democracy and mocks the freedom of the press, it is important to be armed with knowledge and strong sense of discernment to be able to apply an objective test that separates fake news from truth; and to separate chuff from real stuff”.
He said reporters also blur the lines sometimes and compromise their independence and objectivity by bringing their political interests in the newsroom or into the story. “Generally, it is not wrong for a journalist to be an activist in their own right, because realistically, journalists are not passive transmitters of information with no political or class interests – but it’s unethical to promote interests of a particular political party over another, or openly announce your preference. To do that is to do your readers a gross injustice”.
He advised them to be vigilant against “fake news, cheap politicking and undue influence on your editorial decisions; verify your sources and triple check their agenda before publication, protect your newsroom from political infiltrations, and fight for the integrity of our newsrooms. Yours is a huge task during election season”.