Associate professor of Media Studies at Wits University, Glenda Daniels, has criticised the use of social media as a platform for news reporting, saying it creates a credibility crisis.

Daniels was speaking during a panel discussion on the future and credibility of journalism hosted by Media Monitoring Africa at the Goethe-Institute in Johannesburg.

Daniels says the public often battles to distinguish between fact and opinion on social media.

“You can’t lump all media into journalism and that’s the kind of crisis, there is a crisis of credibility. Social media is not journalism, blogging is not journalism, opinion making on radio stations and talk show hosts, that’s not journalism. You gotta separate these things out and what’s happened at the moment there’s just been this complete conflation due to digital disruption, a complete conflation of all kinds of media.”

However, Nikiwe Bikitsha, a broadcaster and panelist on the South African National Editors Forum‘s  (SANEF) inquiry into media ethics says social media plays an important role in journalism, despite issues of credibility.

” I don’t think it’s accurate to dismiss social media platforms and say they are not journalism because journalists are practicing that craft in these new tools. We have to engage with these new tools. We have to apply similarly the same rules, the same veracity, the same standards around ethics, around truthfulness, around reliability, around fairness, whether its on new media or the traditional media.”

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