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The diversity and ethics subcommittee tackles issues of race and gender inequalities in the newsroom and in the media industry as a whole, as well as provides guidelines for fairness and professionalism for editors and journalists.

Regarding independence from political parties and commercial interests, the sub-committee under the chair, Glenda Daniels, (associate professor from Media Studies, Wits University) conducted research into whether journalists/ editors should belong to political parties in 2016. The main finding was that the majority, more than 60, felt journalists’ and editors should not belong to political parties – as this would constitute a conflict of interest.

The sub-committee’s present project: The Glass Ceiling 2018 to examine sexism and patriarchal practises in the newsrooms and media industry is being conducted in collaboration with Gender Links, with funding support from the Media Development and Diversity Agency (MDDA).

Sanef’s Glass Ceiling project sets out to establish the realities facing women journalists and editors in South African newsrooms, to find out what they identify as obstacles to their progress. This research builds on a series of research projects in 2003 and 2006. The research also builds on the State of the Newsroom, South Africa, 2014: Disruptions Accelerated, which found that the number of women editors, and particularly black women editors, decreased year on year from 2013 to 2014. See links:

http://journalism.co.za/new/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/State_of_the_newroom_2013.pdf
http://journalism.co.za/new/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/State-of-the-newsroom-2014.pdf

The present 2018 project which is being done through an online survey builds on past Sanef research from the 2003 annual general meeting revealing that only 17 of views, images and stories in the media in 12 Southern African countries reflected the voices and opinions of women. It highlighted the fact that an important aspect of news was missing from our representation of issues and stories in society. This is a serious problem for diversity and pluralism in our democracy.

The goal of the research is to gain a better understanding of the policies, attitudes and practices in newsrooms in relation to gender, diversity and disadvantaged groups in our society, not only towards news staff but also towards audiences, and thus to help the media to do a better job of reporting society more holistically.

Past research also revealed that women earned 20 less than their male colleagues and black women earned 25 less than white men. Ten years on, in 2018, this needs to be investigated: Is sexism still as rife as ever? Indeed it was found that “discriminatory practices, structural inequalities, cultural factors, prejudices, patriarchy and sexism are still alive and well in our South African newsrooms. These are clearly prohibiting South Africa’s women journalists from realising their potential.”

As journalists you are encouraged to participate in the study. Please see links hereunder:

Perception Questionnaire – https://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/4235986/PERCEPTION-QUESTIONNAIRE-GLASS-CEILINGS-AND-THE-MEDIA-2018-WOMEN-IN-SOUTH-AFRICAN-MEDIA-HOUSES

Institutional Questionnaire – http://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/4233611/GLASS-CEILINGS-THE-MEDIA-2018-WOMEN-IN-SOUTH-AFRICAN-MEDIA-HOUSES

Also, if you would like to read an indepth article on these issues please find a link here.

The Diversity and Ethics sub committee members include:

Glenda Daniels (chair), Kate Skinner, Amina Frense, Moses Moyo, Patricia Handley, Asanda Ngoasheng, Ferial Haffajee, Judy Sandison, Mary Papayya, George Claassen, Angie Kapelianis, Tshumano Makhadi, Janet Heard, Juanita Williams.

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