Press Club SA to tackle social issues
Cape Town - The need to address social issues and talk about “the uncomfortable” were the catalysts that spurred two young people to launch the Press Club of South Africa in Cape Town.
Co-ordinators Awande Dlamini and Moshe Apleni said the concept that was launched at the President Hotel on Thursday has been in the making since December.
Dlamini told the Cape Argus the duo came to the realisation that there weren’t many platforms which encouraged diverse conversations and offered the youth a voice.
“The Press Club SA is really about bringing together media experts from communications and journalism to come together and create a space where people feel invited to tackle issues and engage positively with real-life issues,” she said.
The theme of the event was “Enabling media conversation” and was explored through the main speaker, Minister in the Presidency for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, Jeff Radebe, who encouraged transparent dialogue between the media and the government.
While Radebe admired the role of the media as the fourth estate in holding the government accountable, he warned of the dangers of the “single lens approach”.
On changing patterns of media consumption and the digital revolution, Radebe warned against what he called a “lack of quality assurance standards” which he associated with social media as a form of new media.
“It doesn’t have an editor to select on your behalf. It is not designed to overcome bias. It doesn’t even have to verify its sources.
“Essentially everyone with a smartphone is a conveyor of perspectives and information, unfortunately without the benefit of the trained mind of a professional journalist,” he added.
However, when questioned about the controversial Media Appeals Tribunal, which many see as an attempt by the state to control the media, Radebe said the matter was before Parliament and depended on political discourse.
On what issues and discourse would be brought forward and tackled through the Press Club SA, 35-year-old Apleni said that any topical issues were welcomed.
“This should be a space where media practitioners and communications experts are talking about issues. We’d like to create that platform,” he said.
In terms of media diversity, however, Dlamini and Apleni agreed that slow change within the media remained a shortfall.
They added they would like to set the agenda of the way forward.
Dr Iqbal Survé, the chairman of Sekunjalo Investment Holdings and Independent Media, said that while the media landscape was changing, the new press club was necessary to help give a “true reflection of the stories of the country”.