Friday, August 18, 2017

Journalists should walk out of late-starting press conferences more often, says South African National Editors' Forum.

South African journalists who are kept waiting for hours for press conferences to start without any updates and advisories as to why there's delays should stage walk-outs more often in protest against the growing culture of "media should hurry-up-and-wait" in the country.

This calls comes from The South African National Editors' Forum (Sanef) and follows after South Africa's minister of social development Bathabile Dlamini kept reporters waiting for more than two hours on Thursday after which they all - except the SABC - all decided to stage a walk out and leave.

Earlier on Thursday, the infamously caustic publicist Lumka Oliphant, according to reports, hilariously had the audacity to tell the camera crews of eNCA (DStv 403) and SABC News (DStv 404) that they are allegedly not allowed to stand in front of the tables where officia for social development from various provinces would be sitting.

After camera crews moved, they were kept waiting for longer.

Lumka Oliphant later in the day in a radio interview, giving no clear explanations for why her boss Bathabile Dlamini was late and why the media were not kept up to date and told what's happening, had the audacity of accusing the media of "disrespect".

Mahlatse Gallens, Sanef chairperson said that South African journalists should stage walk-outs more often because a culture of "hurry-up-and-wait" has started to permeate in press briefings.

"It's the journalists' right to walk out. From what we understand, they were there for two hours and there was no explanation given as to why there are delays."

"They arrived and there was no-one there to explain to them when the minister would arrive. They were well within their rights."

Within South Africa's broadcasting industry the struggling South African public broadcaster has become notorious for issuing alerts for press conferences at short notice and then starting late - the lone exception under South African TV channels when it comes to late-starting pressers.

Several SABC press briefings in 2016 and 2017 started very late after the supposed stated time that reporters have been summoned to be at the SABC.

The result has been a noticeable drop-off in the number of journalists attending the SABC's hastily-arranged press briefings, since they also have other deadlines and stories to cover.

Late starting SABC press briefings have also created havoc for TV news channels who wanted to broadcast SABC press briefings live but struggle to plan due to distrust that SABC press briefing will start at the times given.