On Monday, 19 October 2020, the MDDA in collaboration with industry organisations will host a Black Wednesday commemoration under the theme, “Fake News & Disinformation: A threat to Media Freedom, Media Development and Freedom of Expression.”
The emergence of digital technologies and social media have had a profound impact on the traditional use of media. In effect, South African newsrooms are shrivelling due to retrenchments and cost cutting measures. Research has revealed that most journalists who have been retrenched were not trained for the digital age.
In this respect, issues pertaining to media freedom, development and diversity continue to be as important today in the face of new trends created by digital technologies that threaten traditional jobs, proliferation of fake news and disinformation; as well as blurred lines created by social media and the gig-economy. This invariably results in the loss of institutional memory, plurality of voices, context and much need experience in the newsrooms.
There is therefore a need to protect media development and diversity through, amongst others, highlighting the impact of digitisation on journalism and continuous training efforts to equip media practitioners to thrive in the digital age. To this end, the MDDA has also partnered with various sector organisations to deliver a Community Media Masterclass on the Digital Age Media Practitioner, which will take place on the same day, prior to the panel discussion.