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The South African media industry has been dealt a bad hand in the Covid-19 pandemic. Media24 has closed a number of print publications, and restructured others as advertising income dried up. In May, Associated Magazines, publishers of Cosmopolitan, House & Leisure, Good Housekeeping and Women on Wheels, announced its closure. A week later, other magazine casualties included titles Bona, Country Life, Essentials, Food & Home, Garden & Home, People, Rooi Rose, Vrouekeur, Woman & Home and Your Family after their publisher Caxton and CTP Publishers & Printers announced that was “withdrawing” from magazine publishing. The board of directors of Caxton and CTP Publishers and Printers Limited said in a statement, “The high level of cancellations of advertising in the period leading up and over the lockdown period has already had a major impact on trading aggravated by the concern that this revenue will be permanently lost and will place serious extra pressure on the magazine business and the group as a whole.” These magazines have been a staple of the South African cultural diet for decades and their closure marks a landmark loss for South Africans. – Nadya Swart
FirstRand media statement:
In response to the current challenges facing the South African media industry, FirstRand is contributing half a million rand to assist journalists financially impacted by Covid-19, through the South African National Editors’ Forum (Sanef) Media Relief Fund.
This forms part of the group’s wide-ranging Covid-19 relief measures and the R500 000 is made up of contributions from FirstRand and its operating businesses: FNB, RMB, WesBank and Ashburton Investments.
The group believes that the media has played a vital role in ensuring that the nation is kept up to date on key developments in the Covid-19 pandemic, through credible journalism and platforms. It has ensured that South African citizens have been reliably informed on the necessary measures to keep themselves and their loved ones safe.
South Africa is fortunate to have a journalistic community with a long track record of holding all stakeholders of society to account. This is not a privilege that every nation enjoys, and it needs to be protected in these challenging times.
Mahlatse Mahlase, SANEF chairperson, says:
“We are truly grateful to FirstRand for contributing to the fund and recognising the important role journalism plays in strengthening our democracy. The job losses in the industry are unprecedented and we are losing journalists at a time we need them the most. South Africans have turned to trusted news sources in the face of the devastating Covid-19 pandemic. The contribution will go a long way in cushioning the blow.”
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