On the verge of bankruptcy several times, the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA) eventually held a press conference calling on members of the public to donate to the cause. Through the media spreading its message, OUTA raised R3 million in just 48 hours.
“If we didn’t have the free media, if we didn’t have media that was bold and robust enough, we wouldn’t be where we are today,” said OUTA CEO, Wayne Duvenage.
Speaking at a Free Market Foundation event, Duvenage touched on how OUTA benefited media companies because, at the time, news around e-tolls dominated headlines.
“Papers are sold on headlines and e-tolls is a very emotional, topical discussion. Some days you would see e-tolls on the front page of papers three days in a row,” he explained.
Trust in media waning
But Duvenage admitted that the media landscape has changed, particularly the rise of social media, which has led to problems such as fake news and untrustworthy sources.
He cited studies, which showed that trust in South Africa media was falling, and commented that the industry needed to address this. However, he pointed out that individuals, rather than media companies, had started to emerge as trustworthy sources of news.
“What’s happened is, you’ve seen good credible media, good journalism and you’ve seen poor journalism, and the poor journalism is killing the industry. The media has to sort this out. Some media has a question mark above their heads due to their funding mechanisms,” he commented.
“In Twitter, you’ll follow authentic leaders who keep the credibility of their stories right … Those people become the go-to people on certain topics … We have to double check even when credible people have shared things on social media and ask ‘where did that come from? and ask is this right before I share this,’” he concluded.
Here is the full stream of Duvenage’s FMF address:
Michael Bratt is a multimedia journalist at Wag the Dog, publishers of The Media Online and The Media. Follow him on Twitter @MichaelBratt8
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