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Media transformation to be debated at Wits.

Wits tomorrow will be hosting a panel discussion on media transformation in South Africa.  

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Nobathembu Zantsi and Sisa Canca

Media transformation will again be a topic of discussion in a critical debate to be held at Wits tomorrow May 18, 2016.  The debate will be deliberating the extent of transformation in a South African context, with specific focus in ownership, control, power, staffing and policy.

The dialogue comes a few weeks after a debate was held during freedom week in April where transformation in ownership, diversity of news rooms were highlighted in a panel discussion about the meaning of  media freedom in South Africa.  On the evening, Mail & Guardian journalist, Pontsho Pilane said media freedom could not be entirely realised without transformation in ownership and the make-up of the newsroom.

Pilane highlighted that transformation in news room was an important element in the realisation of media freedom. “I’m really interested in who are the editors of the newspapers we read, are the demographics of the newsroom reflective of the society we live in?” said Pilane.

Karabo Rajuili, advocacy co-ordinator at Amabhungane Centre for Investigative Journalism (amaBhungane) said in order for press freedom to be realised, there needs to be diversity and an independent media.

Rajuili stressed that if owners of media companies interfere with editorial freedom, they pose a threat to journalism.  She noted that the biggest threat to media freedom was the different legislative frameworks which are being imposed on the media. “In the last two years we’ve seen quite a strain of legislation in the country and some relate to censorship” said Rajuili.

Tomorrow’s event, organised by Wits School of Literature, Language and Media will include amongst some of the panelists Lumko Mtimde, Professor Jane Duncan, Sekoetlane Phamodi, Dr Mashilo Boloko and Dr Glenda Daniels.  The proceedings will commence at 4:30 PM at the Humanities Graduate Centre, Seminar Room.

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