31 October 2023, Wits Journalism, Admin
“The environment of elections is already so tense and volatile, especially in countries like South Africa,” said Thandi Smith, Media Monitoring Africa’s (MMA) head of programmes. “A lot of the voting public is sitting on the fence in terms of where they plan to cast their vote. They might not understand the politics, the voting dynamics, the electoral process and so on, which makes instances of disinformation so dangerous. All those who want to disrupt the election process need to do is sow that little bit of doubt, that little bit of mistrust.”
MMA was established in 1993 to analyse the coverage of SA’s first democratic elections the following year, and ultimately ensure that the process was free and fair. Since then, it has grown into an organisation with a number of initiatives and programmes in place designed to safeguard media freedom and freedom of expression, and ensure that the country’s media fulfils its obligations and responsibilities in empowering the public to be active citizens within a democracy. This includes fighting back against mis- and disinformation.