Social media guidelines for broadcasters across Southern Africa are being developed following a collaborative 3-day workshop organised by PMA and UNESCO in Namibia earlier this week.

The workshop, which brought media professionals together from across the Southern African Development Community (SADC), gave participants the opportunity to discuss best ethical practice for using social media within newsrooms and media organisations.

SABC News reporters Siphephile Kunene and Reginald Witbooi, who attended the workshop, have produced a radio report on the event. Speaking to the Director General of the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation, Stanley Similo, they found that journalists may be using social media platforms to express views which, albeit being their own personal opinions, may be in conflict with their role as reporters, which is a key contributing factor for producing such guidelines.

Similo added that “journalists can actually shape the way people look at life… That is why it is important from an employer’s perspective that some form of guideline is in place that would seek to regulate how their relationship should work.”

Meanwhile, opening the workshop, Social Media Marketer and founding member of Namibia’s Coalition against Gender-Based Violence, Alna Magdalena Dall, focused on the need to have more minority groups participating in media spaces in order to make them both inclusive and representative of all sections of society. “We need to bring young people into news or media leadership positions. We don’t have enough women; we don’t have enough young people; we don’t have enough people of colour as leaders of media houses. This is a plurality that you see online that we need to start reflecting in our traditional spaces as well.”

The guidelines are due to be published soon. This is part of PMA’s efforts to produce region-specific social media guidelines worldwide having already launched a new set of guidelines in the Caribbean in 2017.

You can listen to Siphephile Kunene and Reginald Witbooi’s full radio report here: