South Africa: SA's Lockdown Has Left Local Media in Perilous Shape, New Report Warns

Radio microphone (file photo).
analysis

The lockdown and its associated regulations has had "a devastating effect" on South African media. This is the main finding of a report released on Monday by the South African National Editors' Forum (SANEF), which shows that although demand for reliable local news has never been higher, the loss in advertising revenue has been catastrophic.

A new research report from the South African National Editors Forum (Sanef) makes for chilling reading on the impact of the Covid-19 economic crisis on local media.

The report states that no sector of the South African media has been immune from the economic effects of the lockdown. Although "the first and most visible casualty" was the magazine industry, small local print publications have also been "ravaged", and even the biggest players in online news, radio and TV have seen dizzying plunges in revenue due to the loss of advertising.

The paradox of the situation is that this is taking place while many news outlets have seen soaring numbers of readers, listeners and viewers.

The report notes that traffic to South African news websites increased by 72% in March. The audience for SABC news bulletins delivered in isiXhosa rose by 60% in the week after...

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