Government recognizes media’s role in advancing democracy

The South African government has joined calls for the protection of journalists’ rights, particularly during a time when South Africa is preparing for national elections.

According the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization UNESCO violence against journalists intensifies during election cycles.

“Professional journalism and a free and objective press are cornerstones of democracy and serve to hold society accountable. We acknowledge the essential role journalists play in our democracy fighting for truth. We condemn any form of violence or intimidation against journalists domestically and internationally.

“South Africa remains committed to supporting a free and independent press. The protection of journalists is of utmost importance, as it is a form of protection of our own rights”, said Acting Director-General of the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) Nomonde Mnukwa recently.

Following the assassination of two French journalists in Mali in 2013, the United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution A/RES/68/163, which proclaimed November 2 as the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists. 

The resolution mobilises United Nations member states to intensify efforts to prevent violence against journalists and create a conducive environment for them to perform their work.

“This day provides an opportunity for all who believe in the advancement of democratic values and the preservation of citizen’s constitutional rights to speak out against any form of violence or harassment of journalists,” Mnukwa said.

Last month, South Africa commemorated Black Wednesday, which aims to raise awareness about the rights of journalists and remembers those who lost their lives fighting for the dignity of the profession.

In August, GCIS hosted a panel discussion with more than 100 journalism and communication students at the Tshwane University of Technology on the topic of Cyberbullying of female journalists, to create awareness on the harassment, discrimination and violence they face in the line of duty. 

Furthermore, GCIS is planning to host a webinar on “Violence Against Journalists and the Integrity of Elections,” in the coming week.

“This is to ensure that, leading up to the election period next year, everyone is cognisant that journalists keep society informed, and foster democratic discourse and integrity of electoral processes.  Details of the Webinar will be shared shortly.

“Government also commends the work done by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) as well as the South African National Editors Forum (SANEF) and various partners on the workshops they have been hosting across the country to prepare media for reporting on the upcoming 2024 national general elections,” GCIS said. 

MDDA opens the call for grant funding applications 2023/24

Closing date is on 17 July 2023, apply online or submit physically

The Media Development and Diversity Agency (MDDA) will officially open the 2023/24 Call for Grant Funding Applications for a six-week period commencing from 05 June 2023.

Community broadcast media projects, including radio, TV, and community print publications, as well as small commercial print are invited to apply.

This year, the MDDA is celebrating twenty years of fulfilling its mandate by providing grant funding and other support, with the aim to encourage media ownership, access and control to media particularly by historically disadvantaged communities and diminished Indigenous language and cultural groups.

The agency will be introducing a few changes to this call for applications for both community print and community broadcast applications.

Grant Funding remains one of the core functions of the MDDA and is also one of the central factors towards ensuring successful empowerment, sustainability, and transformation of the community media sector. The application process will be conducted through compliant, cost-effective, and transparent selection procedures, in-line with corporate governance principles and compliance with the Agency’s legislative framework.

Community print applications: Due to the minimal budget for community print, the call to community projects will take a targeted approach and invite applications from four provinces.

“The MDDA will rotate the provinces every year after this call. All applications will be received on the MDDA’s online application system found on the MDDA website. The call is targeting organizations owned or focusing on youth, women and persons with disabilities related content. This year, the call is not accepting digital media applications under the print portfolio as it will be targeting communities which rely on hardcopy publications and publish in indigenous languages to assist further the mandate of media development and diversity in rural communities,” the agency stated.

Community Broadcast applications will still target all nine provinces.

How to submit your application

Applications will only be accepted via the following channels: emailed or physically delivered to the MDDA offices in Auckland Park (Gate 13, 26 Canary Road, Auckland Park, SABC GSM Building.)

The qualifying criteria is obtainable on the MDDA website, www.mdda.org.za.

For more information on the grant applications call, contact Mzu Kashe on the following e-mail: margaret@mdda.org.za / 082 785 6071.

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Declaration of Allegiance to the Black Media Owners Association

We, the founding members, hereby declare our allegiance to the Black Media Owners Association and its objective of raising the dignity of black people through all media platforms and channels in South Africa and beyond.

We commit to always putting the interests of our black people first in all our media companies and to growing with them.

We recognize that we are competing directly with the big five media establishments that have benefited from injustices of the past and are still doing so through market monopolies in all media spectra.

We declare that enough is enough, and we now wage a war with the establishments that be in this country, including the State and other institutions that support the narrative.

We are the Black Media Owners Association, and we are committed to using our collective voice and resources to challenge the status quo and create a more just and equitable society.

We pledge to work together towards achieving our shared goals and to support each other in our endeavors.