The third event for Media Freedom Week titled “Combatting Offences Online”  was held in Johannesburg, Auckland Park. The relaunch of our new Digital Offences Online Complaints platform (Real411) as well as the launch of our Spotters network was one of the highlights of the evening.

“The site now deals with disinformation, incitement and hate speech. It now means any member of the public from tomorrow can report disinformation on the platform” – William Bird

Visit the new Real411 platform here

We also had Nomshado Lubisi (Communications Manager) and Azola Dayile (Researcher – Policy) from Media Monitoring Africa, presenting the new  Spotters Network which is community of people who are concerned about the rise of digital offences on social media platforms such as Disinformation, Incitement and Hate speech. This network aims to create an online space that is free from hate speech and harassment, truthful and accurate/credible news. Taking an initiative to combat these offences by becoming disinformation spotters who report these offences to the Real 411 platform and rate stories on the News Rover App.


We ended the evening with a panel discussion which was facilitated by Verashni Pillay, South African Journalist and Media Entrepreneur. Sheldon Morais (News 24), Nick Hamman ( 5FM) and Thembekile Mrototo (947, eNCA) were part of this informative discussion talking about harrassment towards journalists and the gaps that the media industry needs to fill to deal with these offences.

Sheldon Morais from News24 emphasised how it’s important that all journalists should speak up even though there is pressure from the media. Thembekile Mrototo continued to add that we need to have an honest conversation around the issues within the media, about the issues of deliberately pushing certain narratives, we need to reflect where we went completely wrong as well.

Nick Hamman made reference to a death threat he once received, he further advised that one should report these offences and harassments on social media platforms and take legal actions against perpetrators. Mrototo reiterated that news organisations only say they condemn ill-treatment but they pose no consequences for anyone who is seen and found harassing and offending journalists.

“For progressive journalism, this is urged to change – Thembekile Mrototo”


Here are some tweets from the evening:


If you missed out Watch the full event here!