Citizen journalism is the voice of the communities in South Africa. At times, professional journalist fail to reach stories as they transpire. Baam! That is where citizen journalists prove vital. However they are not substitutes for professional journalists, there’s no form of real obligation to provide news to audiences. These citizen journalists have the voice,
“voice is critical because the premise of citizen journalism is to allow those marginalized from mainstream media to be heard, and to be heard in a manner that articulates their worldview, and not the mores, ethos and tones of dominant media and dominating elites”. (Dugmore & Ligaga, 2014 )
Therefore the question remains as to does South African media care about citizen journalism?
Most recently, the story of young girls protesting from Pretoria Girls High broke out on Monday morning. The girls who are protesting against racism at the school are fed up by the injustices done by the school. An investigation has been launch by Gauteng MEC Panyaza Lesufi “I’m officially appointing an independent investigation body to investigate all the allegations levelled against certain educators, events of the 26 and 27 [August] and all issues that learners felt border on racism and all related matters,”( Media24).
When the story initially broke out the, citizen journalism was at full force and the images were taken with camera phones and videos as well.
The South African media landscape is very big, with their top priority being to disseminate news and inform the public. Now the media would seem selfish if they’re are to openly oppose citizen journalism but on the contrary if they promoted citizen journalism then they could come under scrutiny for issues of credibility to name a few. It seems quite easy for a ordinary South African citizen to take their phone, catch an image, record a video or current events and disseminating it onto social media as news. Writing blogs and formulating articles with not much shy to reflect bias or eliminating any form of subjectivity. On the other hand, professional journalist who work for big corporate and media houses bear responsibilities to maintain and uphold good reputation. They are subjected to facts and accurate information. Should there be a slip of some sort coming from pro journalists then credibility is lost and a dampening to the reputation. The key difference between citizen journalism and professional journalism is that; citizen is great initiative however professional journalism is of great responsibility.
So to answer the question of South African media caring about citizen journalism, it’s a tricky situation. None the less, SA media faces cruel repercussions if they are to make the errors that are or most likely to be made by citizen journalists. South African media has to acknowledge the strides taken by citizens but there’s also a concern about the ethical and moral values of journalism which citizen journalist are not as fond of. therefore there is no definite answer South African media caring about citizen journalists.