Press freedom on Sanef agenda

first_imgThe South African National Editors’ Forum strives for fairness and ethics in journalism. (Image: stock.xchng)Janine ErasmusFind out more about using materialThe South African National Editors’ Forum (Sanef) held its annual general meeting in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, in June. Looking to the decade ahead, the theme of the event was “Journalism – The next 10 years”.Keynote speaker Jacob Zuma, South Africa’s president, lauded the country’s journalists for their important role in the strengthening of democracy and the promotion of human rights, even as they deal with significant industry-related challenges such as transformation.“These rights include freedom of expression, which is not merely about protecting citizens from state censorship,” said Zuma. “It is also about ensuring that citizens have the means to exercise this right.”All citizens should be able to freely express themselves through the media, said Zuma. He stressed that the media also has an obligation to constantly inform the public – especially the poor – about their rights and responsibilities. He also reminded those present to continue to strive for the attainment of gender equality in the industry in the years to come.Upholding media freedomThe Sanef meeting identified two concerns that must be dealt with if the media is to continue providing credible and newsworthy information in the years to come. Firstly, there must be no imposition of limitations whatsoever on journalists. Secondly, media houses cannot afford to ignore the threat to print publications posed by the advent of the digital age.The meeting focused on various obstacles to media freedom. Within South Africa, Sanef specifically pointed out an increasingly arduous process in obtaining media accreditation from certain organisations and PR companies, and the ongoing refusal of Tito Mboweni, the Reserve Bank governor, to let photographers take pictures of him at briefings.The group resolved to oppose and overcome these developments, and also discussed recent violations to press freedom in other notoriously restrictive countries on the African continent.Sanef expressed its “deep concern” over the ongoing instability at the national broadcaster South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC). In recent weeks the SABC has taken a number of body blows in the form of top-level resignations, revelations of long-overdue debt and mismanagement of funds, and a general drop in credibility on all fronts.Sanef appealed to those in authority to urgently put in place a new governing structure. The SABC is owned by the state and its governing board is appointed in Parliament. Only the country’s president may appoint the chair and deputies.Zuma assured the group that he, too, was monitoring the situation and was ready to take the necessary steps once Parliament has concluded its investigation and decided on the right way forward.“In the midst of the challenges facing the public broadcaster,” said Zuma, “there is still a sizable group of journalists within the institution who undertake their daily work with diligence and integrity.”The president commended those journalists and editors who did their best to keep South Africans reliably informed, often under difficult professional conditions.Recognising commitmentThe annual Nat Nakasa award ceremony, given in honour of the late journalist, took place on the same evening. The awards, which honour courageous journalism, are a tribute to the gutsy 1960s activist who fought against the regime of the time for press freedom and a wider platform for black voices.In 1964 Nakasa went into exile to study journalism at Harvard under a Niemann Fellowship, and died by his own hand at the age of 28.“The Nat Nakasa award reminds us that we don’t just need a free media,” commented Zuma. “We want and need a quality media. As a country we need journalists who are dedicated to their craft and to their audience.”The 2009 Nakasa award was bestowed on South African-born photographer Greg Marinovich, a filmmaker, Pulitzer Prize winner and member of the Bang Bang Club. Marinovich has worked in conflict situations in South Africa, Afghanistan, Bosnia, Chechnya, Rwanda, Uganda, Sierra Leone, Israel, Palestine and others. He is the former picture editor of the Sunday Times, and now works as a freelancer.Another prestigious award was awarded on the night. The Sanef-Wrottesley award is awarded to a journalist who shows outstanding dedication in working towards Sanef’s goals. The winner is chosen by his or her peers. Former City Press and Sunday Times editor Mathatha Tsedu, now head of media giant Media24’s journalism academy, walked off with the award for 2009.Fighting against prejudiceSanef arose out of a 1996 meeting of the Black Editors’ Forum and the Conference of Editors. The two groups merged to form the non-profit, non-racial organisation that now works to overcome various forms of prejudice in the industry and uphold the principles of ethical journalism and freedom of the press. It was launched on 19 October 1996, Press Freedom Day.“We have at last arrived at the creation of a united forum of editors,” said then-president Thabo Mbeki on that occasion, “and therefore, in practical terms, put down another foundation stone on which we will build the non-racial edifice which we all wish to see.”Today Sanef comprises senior journalists, editors and trainers from all over the country and from all media genres, working together for a free South African press.Do you have queries or comments about this article? Contact Janine Erasmus at [email protected] articlesZuma on press freedom 2010 Gauteng media guidelines Bang Bang Club lives on in film Useful linksSanefMedia24Greg MarinovichJournalists of Southern Africalast_img read more

Planting outside the box for more late summer grazing

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Our agricultural endeavors usually require that we give heed to convention and tradition while sprinkling in some improvisation and creativity to achieve our goals. Early this fall I walked a field that was a mixed planting of sorghum sudangrass, brown top millet, sunn hemp, crimson clover, and just a dash of soybean. Before this crop, this was a poorly performing grain field and the producer had a need for space to graze livestock, he required space to spread manure, and he was driven to seek innovative ways to boost soil quality. A biological system that integrated the producer’s needs and kept the soil covered and nutrients onsite was this producer’s approach to address his newly acquired underperforming acreage. This is an example of intercropping which seeks to capitalize on the benefits of increased plant diversity and increased complexity of a crop rotation. It is a work in progress but with a little homework and effort this producer is working on an approach that keeps his soil condition a top priority and meets multiple goals for his production. The sorghum sudangrass and sunn hemp dominated the view. Of the plants in the field sorghum is more common and well-known, but the plant that caught my attention was sunn hemp (Crotalaria sp.). This is an upright summer legume that is three to nine feet tall. As a legume, it fixes nitrogen from the atmosphere and produces large nodules. My encounter with it was in September at head high, or five to six feet. It is a rapid grower — this field was planted June 24 — with smooth leaves, yellow flowers, and an extensive tap root. Seeds are small at 15,000 per pound. The ability of the plant to grow tall allows it to reach sunlight and grow with the sorghum grasses, which, makes it an attractive candidate for this intercropping system.In our central Ohio climate, the expectation is that the plant will be frost-killed before full plant maturity and it is treated like an annual. The Midwest Cover Crops Field Guide states it is a fine crop for goat and sheep but less suitable for cattle. However, in an intercropping system there are other plants available. Harmful alkaloids can be present in the seed so grazing should cease after flowering. Recent research from New York published in Crop Science (2016) compared monocultures and mixtures of pearl millet, sorghum sudan, sunn hemp and cowpea. Yields of intercrop mixtures were stable across multiple environments but one clear lesson was shorter stature plants like cowpea did not pair well with taller and faster growing plants like sorghum sudangrass.Interest in the US in sunn hemp is largely centered on cover cropping, green manures, intercropping and organic nitrogen sources. It has other utility in places such as India and Pakistan where it is used in fiber production. For those who are considering the use of warm season annuals to supplement forage needs, intercrop mixtures with sunn hemp may present an opportunity. To be clear, this is not an argument for converting out of your standard practices but, rather, a general encouragement to consider a wide array of options when trying to address unsatisfactory situations. This is new and has yet to go through the refining fire of time for our region. For most, staple forages such as orchard grass, fescue, and clovers are adequate to meet grazing needs.So, to conclude, is this something you should try? The driving factors at the field in Ohio that made this possible included marginal field conditions and very little risk at an economic loss combined with a little bit of youthful optimism and adventure. As you wrap up your fall harvests, consider your options for next year and don’t be afraid to think outside the box.last_img read more

Ind vs Eng: Ex-India skippers invited for Lord’s Test

first_imgA Few former Indian Test captains will take a round of the hallowed turf of the Lord’s on the fourth day of the first Test between India and England starting on Thursday to mark the occasion of the 100th Test between the two countries.These former Indian Test captains will present themselves along with a few former England skippers though England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) presently is not willing to reveal their names.This will be to mark the occasion of the 100th Test between India and England and 2,000th Test the Lord’s Test is set to become. The 100th Test of the cricket annals was played between Australia and England in 1908. The 500th was one between Australia and West Indies in 1960 and the 1,000th between Pakistan and New Zealand in Hyderabad in 1984.”The first 1,000 Tests took 90 years while the next 1,000 are being completed in 27 years,” said Haroon Lorgat, chief executive of International Cricket Council, on Monday.The purists might argue that this is not the 2000th Test as the list includes the match between the Rest of the World against Australia in 2005 which was given the official status of a Test without having the support of anybody with a proper interest in the welfare of Test cricket. By that token, the 2000th Test will in fact take place at Trent Bridge next week.The Lord’s Test will also be the 100th of Duncan Fletcher as coach, a massive record in itself to have for any coach. So far, 3,450 centuries have been hit by Test batsmen from all nations.advertisementNo less than 7,554 have been instances of ducks being recorded. Bowlers have taken 61,175 wickets while in all 1,959,659 runs have been scored.During the Lord’s Test, the real festivities would surround the 100th Test between England and India -the fact that it is a 2,000th Test would just be reduced to a number. As such the honchos of Board of Control for Cricket in India and those of ECB will be in full attendance at Lord’s.The ICC has produced a special coin for the occasion which would be used for toss by the two competing captains.With inputs from PTIlast_img read more