Top of the Blogs 2019 #7

A weekly compilation of independent voices from the African blogosphere

To keep you updated on the issues discussed in the continent's blogger scene, we publish a "Top of the Blogs" at the end of each week - interesting new blog posts commenting on media, culture, politics and news from all over Africa.

Overview: April 27th till May 3rd, 2019

World Press Freedom Day

Today is World Press Freedom Day so we have prepared a selection of the top opinion pieces related to press freedom, journalist safety and media credibility and independence in Africa – including an article by our KAS Media Africa Director on the risks of reliance on media philanthropy.

I have nothing against philanthropy

KAS Media Africa’s Director Christoph Plate believes that media philanthropy, no matter with what good intentions, can in the long-run undermine journalistic ethics. In this opinion piece he warns that giving things for free creates the typical donor-recipient dependency, with African media outlets reliant on foreign donors who mean well but know very little. It also contradicts the role of a self-sufficient media, serving as the Fourth Estate, no matter how disputed the term might be.

Threats to press freedom are taking on different forms across Africa

Journalists across the continent face threats every day. Many are incarcerated or intimidated for covering sensitive stories. This is despite the fact that progressive laws have been passed in a number of countries. These are designed to protect the fundamental rights to free expression and access to information. And yet some governments in Africa still show little respect for freedom of expression laws.

Why restoring accuracy will help journalism win back credibility

Journalism will be saved by good journalism, and good journalism happens when media organisations invest in things like fact-checking , writes media academic Glenda Daniels. Fact-checking is laborious, time-consuming and complex. If modern newsrooms are serious about producing good journalism, and fighting back against the proliferation of falsehoods that dominate so much of the news cycle today, professional fact-checkers are crucial.

World Press Freedom Day: SA drops in international rankings

Reporters Without Borders has dropped South Africa’s ranking three places after confirming that ‘press freedom has yet to be consolidated in South Africa’. The country now ranks 31st out of 180 countries. According to Reporters Without Borders, the reasons for South Africa’s drop in status include that ‘the State Security Agency spies on some journalists and taps their phones’. Others are harassed and subjected to intimidation campaigns if they try to cover ‘certain subjects involving the ruling ANC party, government finances, the redistribution of land to the black population or corruption’.

It’s time to rethink philanthropy journalism in East Africa

Journalism is about freely exchanging information based on news, views or ideas. This is the reason why the context within which journalism is practised matters. In East Africa, this context is challenging because intimidation and harassment of journalists is rife. Critical media outlets are being shut down on flimsy grounds and others starved of government advertisement. Thus, support to journalism and media in general is meaningful only if philanthropists collaborate to support a long-term sustainable media ecosystem.