MTN has once more raised its hand as it decided to support the Association of Independent Publishers (AIP) and the South African National Editors' Forum (Sanef) towards both organisations' critical programmes.
Sanef and the AIP once more encouraged with the telecommunications group’s efforts in supporting the work being done by the media. Last year MTN was one of the founding companies that supported the establishment of the Media Relief Fund, which has so far assisted hundreds of journalists who lost their income due to Covid-19.
This time around, MTN will be supporting the AIP as it intends to assist community media entities, largely affected by the July unrest in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng. Sanef will be supported towards the safety training of journalists, a growing concern as media workers have been under criminal attacks, with the latest incident happening in Cape Town this week.
MTN pledges an amount of R800,000 to be equally shared between both organisations in support of their work and members’ needs.
Sbu Ngalwa, Sanef’s chairperson, says: “The safety training of journalists is an issue we take seriously as an organisation. Recent incidents have necessitated that we pay closer attention to this and assist journalists across community and mainstream media to be well equipped when they go out to cover stories. We are grateful for this much-needed assistance by MTN.”
The funds are intended to help grassroots publishers pay for printing and distribution costs and assist them to get back on their feet again after the damages and loss of advertising revenue caused by the unrest and looting.
Community print media remain a critical voice in their communities, as their widespread coverage spans across the country’s provinces, and the publications are available in nine (9) South African official languages.
MTN SA’s executive for corporate affairs, Jacqui O’Sullivan says: “Community media have such a critical role to play in the day-to-day issues on the doorsteps of so many South Africans. These critical role players have continued their good work in the face of adversity during the pandemic and recent looting and riots. We salute them and hope that this funding will assist them in carrying on their good work.”
The AIP is immensely grateful for the support that has been offered by MTN to its member-publishers as it will give them a much-needed boost and fill-in the unexpected financial gap that was caused by the unrest and looting.
It must be noted that MTN is the founding funder of the Media Relief Fund, managed by Sanef. The fund’s sole intent was to assist financially constrained journalists affected by Covid-19. The fund is now in its fifth and last round, which will see ninety-nine media workers getting financial help.
MTN, Sanef and AIP are now calling on other South African corporates to join us and to assist community media and journalists more broadly with contributions to Sanef’s newly established, Journalism Sustainability Fund.