The South African National Editors’ Forum (Sanef) has expressed concern following Media24’s decision to consider retrenchments, closures and reduced frequencies of operations.
In a statement on Monday, Sanef’s Hopewell Radebe said the closure of media houses negatively impacts democracy.
“Sanef is concerned that the continuing closure of media houses will have a detrimental effect on our democracy as it limits the number of sources of information for the public, leads to regression in media diversity and multiplicity of voices.”
Earlier on Tuesday, Media24 announced it would be consulting with staff on the possible closure of five magazines and two newspapers, as well as outsourcing and reducing the frequency of remaining monthly magazines.
The planned interventions could affect around 510 staff members. Similarly, changes to the company’s distribution divisions, as well as divisional and corporate services departments, will impact 660 positions.
Radebe also added that Covid-19 has put journalists in high-risk situations.
“Since Covid-19, the process of news gathering has transformed completely, and this element of personal danger is one of the most troubling changes for journalists.
“Sanef believes that the risks facing journalists remain unacceptably high for most, and tragically it has claimed the lives of some.”
Sanef previously launched a relief fund for journalists, who have lost their livelihoods as a result of Covid-19, especially with publications facing closure.
“In April alone, we saw the closure of two magazine publishers and 80 small print publications operating across the country, leading to the loss of over 700 jobs for journalists.
“We appeal to South African corporates to spend their advertising budgets with the South African media, and that the public should take up subscriptions and continue to buy local papers,” Radebe said.