SA nips false news in the bud pre-elections


Independent Election Commission

JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) – AHEAD of next year’s elections, South Africa is tackling digital media misinformation and disinformation, which recur during polls.

This week, the Portfolio Committee on Communications and Digital Technologies, organised a symposium to deal with such and content moderation.

Participating stakeholders included the Department of Communications and Digital Technologies, the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, the Film and Publication Board, the Independent Electoral Commission, the National Association of Broadcasters, as well as the Government Communications and Information Systems.

“We believe that day one was a success because stakeholders made insightful presentations that sparked meaningful discussions,” said the Chairperson of the above-mentioned committee, Boyce Maneli.

He was speaking about the event that started in Pretoria on Tuesday.

The committee aims to assess the state of readiness of the communication sector and its capacity to meet its mandate to disseminate information fairly in the run-up to the national and provincial government elections in 2024, including the measures it will take to guard against disseminating misinformation during future elections.

On Wednesday, the symposium was to receive presentations from TikTok, Meta, Google, X and Right2Know.

Maneli said in the interests of holding free and fair elections and protecting South Africa’s democracy in the digital age, Parliament should begin to debate the guidelines that will ensure fair and impartial communications during election cycles.

Next year’s elections are projected to be a watershed moment in post-independent South Africa.

The country will be commemorating 30 years of majority rule.

The ruling African National Congress (ANC), in power since independence, is under pressure as economic inequalities remain, and the scourges of crime and corruption persist.

Several parties have emerged after officials were either expelled or resigned from the governing party.

The latest is the African Congress for Transformation (ACT), unveiled on Wednesday by Ace Magashule, the former secretary-general who was axed from the factionalised party in June.

– CAJ News

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