14 September 2021, Eyewitness, Lauren Isaacs

The South African National Editors’ Forum (Sanef), in partnership with Media Monitoring Africa, is on Tuesday afternoon discussing how to deal with misinformation and disinformation during elections season.

Media Monitoring Africa’s Thandi Smith said that it was already known to be a period of heightened tension.

“We are already dealing with potential violence, we are already dealing with, or given the current context that we are in through the COVID-19 pandemic, those heightened tensions are exacerbated by the context we already find ourselves in.”

Smith said that public trust in institutions, including the media, was critically low.

“Increased trust in the media and in our public institutions is absolutely critical for the environment of a connected and engaged citizenry. But we also know that we are dealing with an environment where we often see active agents who are at play to discredit the media, which presents even more challenges around public trust and credibility of independent media.”

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