TV tower in Kyiv, Ukraine, is hit by an airstrike.
- Sanef is concerned about the gagging of the media with regard to the war in Ukraine.
- The organisation called on the media to operate freely – without intimidation.
- Sanef is also uneasy about the silencing of Russian based-news television, RT.
The South African National Editors’ Forum (Sanef) is concerned that media outlets are being prevented from reporting on the war in Ukraine.
Sanef is also uneasy that some news channels, covering the war, are being suppressed.
“This ranges from silencing independent news channels within Russia tochannels, such as RT, removed on the MultiChoice platform in South Africa.
“MultiChoice’s provider blocked the RT feed in Europe as a result of wide-ranging sanctions introduced by the EU against Russia in the aftermath of its invasion of Ukraine,” said Sanef.
MultiChoice confirms that as of today, 2 March 2022, Russia Today (Channel 407) shall not be carried on the DStv platform until further notice. Sanctions imposed on Russia by the E.U has led to the global distributor ceasing to provide the broadcast feed to all suppliers. pic.twitter.com/eago966Iqw
— DStv (@DStv) March 2, 2022
This was followed by the blocking of RT, globally, from numerous news feeds and tech platforms.
“We also strongly condemn the bombing of a Ukrainian TV tower in Kyiv that prevents citizens from accessing one of their news sources. Russian strikes on Kyiv TV tower brought down the main TV tower in the nation’s capital, killing five people on Tuesday and knocking out some state broadcasting.
“This violates the rights of media workers in this conflict. While we support freedom of access to a diversity of views, we do not support disinformation on any channels; and appeal to all to report factually, impartially and truthfully for the benefit of all their audiences.”
READ | RT goes dark in SA after global distributor cuts feed
Sanef said disinformation was a global problem, with more complex and sophisticated deception techniques.
According to Sanef, disinformation confuses and has the effect of undermining human rights and democracy.
Sanef said all news organisations were responsible for actively countering any built-in biases and seeking to be impartial in all their reports.
“RT is a Russian state-controlled international television network funded by the tax budget of the Russian government and as such (it is) widely perceived as a state propaganda tool.
It is nevertheless a source of information from Russia, that viewers could access along with all other channels, to critically assess its credibility and information for themselves.
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Sanef said it was not blind to the fact that, in Russia, the authorities had imposed censorship on information about the “special operation” now underway.
“According to Reporters without Borders (RSF), Roskomnadzor [The Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology, and Mass Media] have told the media in that country only to use the information and data they receive from official Russian sources or else they could be prosecuted for spreading false information.
“We also note the RSF’s call on belligerents and international organisations to guarantee the safety of Ukrainian journalists, including more than 1 000 foreign correspondents, reporting on the ground in Ukraine, according to figures provided by the Ukrainian military, which issues accreditations.”
Sanef said both Resolution 2222, adopted in 2015 by the UN Security Council, of which Russia is a permanent member, and international humanitarian law require that journalists are protected during armed conflicts, like any civilian, even when accompanying military forces for their reporting purpose.
Sanef called on all platforms, including social media, to be vigilant in ensuring impartiality and countering disinformation.