The South African National Editors’ Forum (SANEF) is the most influential media freedom advocacy grouping in South Africa. It consists of title editors and senior journalists operating in print, broadcasting, and digital mainstream at national, regional and community media levels, as well as media trainers and academics from major journalism departments and training institutes in the country.
SANEF’s vision is to promote the quality and ethics of journalism, to reflect the diversity of South Africa, to champion freedom of expression and to work towards the sustainability of journalism.
SANEF is aware of the critical importance of community media to the overall diversity of the media industry. However, we are concerned about the difficult environment that community media are operating in and the fact that many print and broadcast newsrooms struggle to diversify their content distribution and revenue options to include digitally driven future growth areas.
As one way forward SANEF would like to launch a project to assist selected print and broadcast community media organisations to create an online presence through developing sustainable websites and social media strategies. Where necessary, the service provider can also showcase how collaboration can benefit community media, in specific and close regions.
SANEF would like to invite civic/media tech organisations/companies/consultancies with a track record in digital media/journalism projects to manage and implement a community media digital development project with the following elements:
- Design digital workflows and tools for implementation in traditional print and broadcast newsrooms to enable them to publish their content on both traditional and online platforms, as part of a plan to ensure future sustainability. Elements should include basics such as tools and workflows for digital newsgathering and multimedia production, a WordPress, or similar or better, content management and web publication system and social media strategies and management tools; as well as optional modules such as for streaming and podcasting services, and for different platforms (e.g. WhatsApp, TikTok). The proposed websites should also offer publishers/broadcasters an opportunity to explore alternative revenue streams, i.e. subscription services, online ad revenue, e-commerce or added-value offerings. The websites should also provide for interaction with third party applications, such as Pocket Reporter, which guides young reporters on how to do a variety of stories.
- Management of a pilot project to implement variations of this online toolkit in a first batch of 10 to 15 community print and broadcast newsrooms, considering available r individual infrastructure, requirements, and online opportunities in their communities. The project roll-out in each newsroom should include workshops to agree on a suitable set of solutions in each environment as part of a future sustainability plan, hardware, and software set-up as well as the necessary workflow and tools training to enable them to work on their own. In this process the proposed digital workflows and tools (as in 1 above) should be tested and refined for possible roll-out to a second batch of community newsrooms (not included in this tender).
- Establishing a central development and help desk to provide support for the roll-out and operations of the digital production and online services of the selected newsrooms.
- The proposed criteria and process to select the first batch of community newsrooms for the pilot project, considering provincial, language, urban/rural diversity and different kinds and sizes of newsrooms.
In summary, the project deliverables and budget must make provision for:
- In point 1, a digital community media sustainability strategy, supported by a blueprint for implementation of a generic plan with variations for different kinds of newsrooms and online content services; plus, the hardware and software requirements per newsroom to implement variations of the blueprint. Also provide a timeline for implementation for each newsroom and for the entire project.
- In point 2, the individual newsroom digital sustainability implementation plan, hardware and software implementation and training for each newsroom. Provision needs to be made for an assessment stage and adjustments (where necessary), and recommendations for the next batch based on lessons learnt from each newsroom.
- In point 3, please provide details of the nature and operations of the central desk and services to be provided, from bulk hardware and software acquisition and licensing to management of a central server (if required) and support and maintenance services.
- In point 4, details about the management of the selection process.
Submitting the tender
The tender document(s) must contain the following:
- Name of bidder and contact details including company registration
- Demonstrated experience in undertaking similar projects
- Two references (name, phone and email, context in which you have worked together).
- Detailed outline of the project plan, timeline and budget
Shortlisted bidders may be asked to present to the SANEF Management and Community Media sub-committees.
Due date for submission: Monday, 11 July 2022
Submit your tender(s) to [email protected].
Please note the decision of the SANEF Management and Community Media Sub-Committees are final and no correspondence will be entered into with unsuccessful bidders.
MDDA Continues to Dismally Fail Local Publishers: Future Looks Bleak as MDDA and Competition Commission Allocate Majority of EDF Funds to People Not Impacted by Unfair Competition
On 22 April 2022 the AIP Board met with the Media Development and Diversity Agency (MDDA) board to ensure that the Economic Development Fund (EDF) supports the sustainability of local media. Unfortunately, no progress was made.
The EDF is a fund which was established by the Competition Commission South Africa (CCSA) and administered by the MDDA. In 2011 the Commission initiated an investigation into various large media companies. The investigation uncovered evidence that these companies, through the Media Credit Coordinators (MCC) had agreed to offer similar discounts and payment terms to accredited and non-accredited agencies that placed adverts with MCC members. The Commission found that the MCC was ultimately a pricing mechanism that breached the Competition Act, 1998 as these practices undermined competition and amounted to price fixing. As a result of these investigations the implicated companies were fined an amount of R39 million. The EDF was established to house these funds.
Over the years the AIP and its members have met with the Competition Commission and the MDDA on numerous occasions to plead with both organisations to ensure that a substantive portion of the funds directly assist the independent publishers who bore the brunt of the unfair competition. However, we are of the view that these pleas have continuously fallen on deaf ears. The CCSA and MDDA have instead chosen to allocate the funds primarily to target groups that were not negatively affected by the above-mentioned collusion, such as start-ups, students and military veterans.
The MDDA released a document on 17 January 2022 that confirmed that the amount collected was R39 million but only a tiny portion of the Fund (R5.2 million) would be disbursed for sustainability projects (that would assist surviving publishers) – the rest would go to student bursaries (about R14 million), start-up projects already funded by the MDDA (about R14 million) and the MDDA administration of the Fund (about R4m). (The administration costs of the fund are in fact just less than the funds allocated to sustainability.)
At the end of January 2022, the MDDA sent out an advertisement calling for applications to the Fund, giving applicants only a single month to apply. The AIP immediately expressed its distress and met with both the MDDA and CCSA to discuss the criteria again. Again, no progress was made.
A small glimmer of hope then appeared when the MDDA Board stated that they were happy to meet with the AIP Board on 22 April to discuss the matters. The AIP once again put forward our reasonable requests:
- To amend the MoU signed between the MDDA and the Competition Commission.
- To amend the application criteria to favour publishers that were directly impacted by the collusion and unfair competition.
- To re-allocate funds to ensure that sustainability projects were given at least R19.2 million.
- To extend the application process by a further 2 months.
To our grave disappointment the Board stated that there was in fact nothing that it could do on any of the requests. (Although the board had amended the criteria of the Fund previously.) The board stated that it had in fact already adjudicated the allocation of funds and would be distributing these shortly. The board confirmed that it had only set aside R5.2m of funding for publishers impacted by the unfair competition – and no further funds would be allocated. The board also stated that it was not prepared to re-open the applications to allow for more time. In a nutshell the board stated that there was nothing it could do for local publishers in small towns and rural areas, although support for print and online publications is precisely its legislated mandate.
The AIP is now going back to its members to discuss the matter further including next steps. We believe that the MDDA is failing in fulfilling its mandate to support print and online publications, and they need to be accountable.
ISSUED BY THE AIP BOARD
Kate Skinner – Executive Director – (082) 926-6404
Mbali Dhlomo – Chairperson of the AIP Board – (083) 466-0027
SANEF and AIP ran an important media sustainability workshop on 26 November 2021. Please see the programme and presentations below.
- Working document and programme
- Izak Presentation – Sustainability Workshop
- AIP and SANEF workshop – Sustainability – action points and summary
MTN supports SANEF and AIP towards efforts in supporting community media and safety training of journalists
20 October 2021
MTN has once more raised its hand as it decided to support the Association of Independent Publishers (AIP) and the South African National Editors’ Forum (SANEF) towards both organisations’ critical programmes.
SANEF and the AIP once more encouraged with the telecommunications group’s efforts in supporting the work being done by the media. Last year MTN was one of the founding companies that supported the establishment of the Media Relief Fund, which has so far assisted hundreds of journalists who lost their income due to Covid-19.
This time around, MTN will be supporting the AIP as it intends to assist community media entities, largely affected by the July unrest in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng. SANEF will be supported towards the safety training of journalists, a growing concern as media workers have been under criminal attacks, with the latest incident happening in Cape Town this week.
MTN pledges an amount of R800 000,00 to be equally shared between both organisations in support of their work and members’ needs.
Sbu Ngalwa, SANEF’s chairperson, says: “The safety training of journalists is an issue we take seriously as an organisation. Recent incidents have necessitated that we pay closer attention to this and assist journalists across community and mainstream media to be well equipped when they go out to cover stories. We are grateful for this much-needed assistance by MTN.”
The funds are intended to help grassroots publishers pay for printing and distribution costs and assist them to get back on their feet again after the damages and loss of advertising revenue caused by the unrest and looting.
Community print media remain a critical voice in their communities, as their widespread coverage spans across the country’s provinces, and the publications are available in nine (9) South African official languages.
MTN SA’s Executive for Corporate Affairs, Jacqui O’Sullivan says: “Community media have such a critical role to play in the day-to-day issues on the doorsteps of so many South Africans. These critical role players have continued their good work in the face of adversity during the pandemic and recent looting and riots. We salute them and hope that this funding will assist them in carrying on their good work.”
The AIP is immensely grateful for the support that has been offered by MTN to its member-publishers as it will give them a much-needed boost and fill-in the unexpected financial gap that was caused by the unrest and looting.
It must be noted that MTN is the founding funder of the Media Relief Fund, managed by SANEF. The fund’s sole intent was to assist financially constrained journalists affected by Covid-19. The fund is now in its fifth and last round, which will see ninety-nine media workers getting financial help.
MTN, SANEF and AIP are now calling on other South African corporates to join us and to assist community media and journalists more broadly with contributions to SANEF’s newly established, Journalism Sustainability Fund.
For more info:
Executive Director: AIP
Cell No: 082 926 6404
E-mail: [email protected]
Executive Director: Sanef
Cell No: 071 682 3695
E-mail: [email protected]
Manager: Communications and Public Relations: MTN SA
Cell No: 083 209 2683
E-mail: [email protected]
The Association of Independent Publishers (AIP) announces the appointment of media freedom activist, Dr. Kate Skinner as its Executive Director.
Kate has worked with the unions, NGOs, government and the media industry, where her primary focus was to build a diverse, independent media sector. In 2017, she completed her PhD degree at Wits University in the Media Studies Department, focusing on public service broadcasting and South Africa’s stop-start digital migration process. Kate is currently doing research on the impact of COVID-19 in the media industry.
Prior to her appointment at the AIP, Kate worked as Executive Director at the South African National Editors’ Forum (SANEF).
Her appointment comes at a time when the community media sector is experiencing a variety of sustainability challenges.
The Chairperson of the AIP Board, Ms Mbali Dhlomo, has expressed her appreciation at Kate’s appointment. “On behalf of the Board, I wish to convey my sincere welcome to Dr. Skinner as she joins our team. I am certain that Kate’s experience and expertise will assist us as we move the organization to the next higher level, for the benefit of our membership throughout the country.”
AIP is a membership-based organisation that represents grassroots community newspapers (both online and print). There are over 200 AIP members countrywide. Over 70% of the Publishers are black, with most of their publications servicing the most rural parts of the country. Twenty-eight percent (28%) of the publications are owned by women, and eighty-five percent (85%) publish in indigenous languages.
For any enquiries contact:
082 962 2144
Today (01 July 2021), the Association of Independent Publishers (AIP) announced the re-appointment of Ms. Mbali Dhlomo as Chairperson of its Board of Directors.
Ms. Mbali Dhlomo is the Founder and Editor of Intuthuko Newspapers, a company that publishes newspaper titles in Durban, Newcastle and Dundee.
She sat on the AIP Board for more than 10 years, and was also Chairperson of the Board for 3 years.
Her re-appointment to the Board comes after the untimely death of Mr. Wandile Fana, who was the Chairperson at AIP.
Ms. Dhlomo has expressed her appreciation for this re-appointment. “It is unfortunate that my return to the AIP Board is as a result of the sad circumstance of the passing of Wandile. Nevertheless, as a way of paying homage to his leadership and honoring his memory, I will do my utmost best to steer the AIP forward and upwards towards great success.”
Statement issued by: Nontando Mokoena
082 962 2144