MEDIA STATEMENT: We at the Institute for Advancement of Journalism (IAJ) have become increasingly aware that this continent’s media is heavily populated by journalists who do not have a voice: who are censored or banned; who have their copy shredded, vetted or binned without obvious justification or explanation; who are often persecuted for doing their jobs. The result is that endless important stories are lost forever; truth is not told and the media as servant of the people is stifled.
If only there was a safe platform on which African journalists of all hues and creeds could openly tell their stories and share their opinions and analysis; where citizens could read the truth and where journalists could support each other and critique each others’ work – and where honest debate could flourish.
There is. In an extraordinarily generous gesture, Richmark Holdings has donated the entire website that was once newstime.co.za to the IAJ, allowing us to recreate it as www.freejourn.org – a mouthpiece for African journalists. Richmark will also be sponsoring the maintenance of the site, as well as employing a young journalist, Benjie Shoko, to help manage the content.
We will also be able to market the site to an existing database of over 10 000 unique users. All they ask in return is that we spread the word to as many journalists, media freedom organisations and interested parties as we can. It’s some gift and we have six months to make it happen.
If you’ve already clicked on the freejourn.org link, you’ll see that it doesn’t go anywhere. Yet. This is because we need the help of you or your organisation to populate it with content before we go live at the end of January. What kind of content? All kinds: news, opinion and analysis covering politics, media freedom, government, health, infrastructure, conflict, sport, finance, environmental matters, legal issues, women’s rights, children’s issues, etc…
Journalists are welcome to write under a pseudonym should they need to. Articles should be between 300 at 700 words, images should be in jpeg format (we will resize). All content must adhere to the South African Press Code. Any copy that doesn’t will be rejected. For the time being the site will be in English only, which doesn’t mean that the English has to be flawless, but we do request that all articles are spell checked and given a rigorous read through before submission. We will do a ‘light’ sub to limit typos and spelling errors, but otherwise it goes up as is. For now, copy should be sent to content manager, Benjie Shoko at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please note that freejourn.org is free for use by IAJ alumni. You don’t have to be oppressed to contribute, but you do need to have something worth saying!
Freelance and independent contributors are also most welcome. There is no payment for articles or images and copyright remains with the author.
Nascent websites are never without hiccoughs, so I ask that you be patient with ours. We are committed to creating a chorus of new voices across Africa. We would love yours to be heard.