South Africa: SANEF Saddened to Learn of the Closure of New Frame

The South African National Editors’ Forum is saddened to learn that New Frame is closing its publication after the funder pulled the plug.

Launched on 16 August 2018, on the sixth anniversary of the massacre of striking miners at Marikana, New Frame is closing barely weeks away from the tenth anniversary of the Marikana massacre shattering the country’s hopes of sustainable and growing independent media voices.

We note that it came into existence offering the South African public unique news coverage that gave due weight and dignity to the lives and struggles of ordinary people. It was also an initiative that while beginning its work from Johannesburg, promised to progressively become a more pan-African publication in terms of both reach and orientation. As a result, it earned itself a rare brand of being referred to as the ‘people’s media house’ by its well-wishers and admirers within the noticeably short space of its existence.

SANEF has lamented the dilapidating state of the media as we witnessed the country’s small and independent publishers, community print and broadcasters as well as big multiplatform media companies retrenching hundreds of journalists, due to the negative impact of COVID-19 since 2020.

The demise of New Frame also comes at a time when SANEF is seized with the critical national debate on potential public funding models to sustain news media platforms in the country.

New Frame editorial noted today that “there is no commercial model to sustain it … there is no constituency within the public willing and able to fund it at a viable scale.”