Project Description

Media Monitoring Africa

Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) was established in 1993 in Johannesburg, South Africa and, since then, has evolved from a pure monitoring-based project to an innovative organisation which implements successful media strategies for change. MMA acts as a watchdog, taking on a role to promote ethical and fair journalism which supports human rights. MMA’s vision is to create a responsible, quality media that enables an engaged and informed citizenry in Africa and the world.

The Real 411: Digital Disinformation Complaints Committee (in partnership with the Independent Electoral Commission)

ABOUT THE PROJECT

The aim of the project to build a digital disinformation complaints mechanism, political advert repository, a mechanism to help journalists who are harassed and attacked online and deepen and expand existing digitalis literacy tools and initiatives.

  • The Digital Disinformation Complaints Committee (DDC) is at its core a complaints mechanism where a member of the public can submit a complaint through the IEC about content they find on a digital platform.
    • Complaints are submitted via an online platform Real411.org.za.
    • The complaint will be assessed by a three-person team, including an IEC representative, and will include people with expertise in legal, digital media and journalism.
    • The team will come to a decision which will then be communicated to a Commissioner of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC). The Commissioner can then choose from a range of possible actions including asking platforms to remove content, block a user, request an apology or issue a counter narrative.
  • Political Advert Repository (PAdRe)
    • In addition to the complaints mechanism MMA is also building an online repository of political adverts. The purpose of the repository is to enable the public to check if content they receive is legitimate.
    •  In addition to being in line with the African Principles of Access to Information in an Election Period, provision of such a repository will be a key element in developing digital literacy skills.
  • Combatting online threats against Journalists
    • This mechanism will allow journalists to report threats, enabling MMA to investigate, work with platforms and where necessary recommend further action from reporting to the IEC, SAPS, SAHRC, CGE and/or seeking legal advice.
  • Digital literacy Initiatives
    • If people have the skills, commitment and interest they can serve as one of the most effective mechanisms for preventing the spread of disinformation as they will stop the content from spreading.
    • MMA has been equipping people with critical and digital literacy skills and online platforms to empower and enlighten media users.

ACHIEVEMENTS/PROJECT ROLE OUT/ACTIVITES TO DATE

The Digital Disinformation Complaints Committee (Real411) was officially launched in April 2019, in partnership with the IEC:

The Political Party Advert Repository (Padre) is a South African first, and aims to ensure and increase access to information in elections in South Africa, in line with the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights’ Guidelines On Access To Information and Elections In Africa. PAdRe was launched on 1 April 2019 by the IEC.

Padre is an initiative of the IEC and supported by Media Monitoring Africa (MMA), aimed at supporting free and fair elections by ensuring access to information during the elections period.

Combatting Threats to Journalists: This component of the project is directly linked to the progress made on the Real411. In line with the Real411, this activity offers a platform where journalists can lodge complaints of online harassments and/or threats, which will then get dealt with by Media Monitoring Africa and the South Africa National Editors Forum (SANEF).

Digital Literacy Initiatives:

  • KnowNews Chrome extension, is an add-on which indicates the level of trustworthiness of a media news site.
  • Open & Disclose is an online platform where media houses and journalists can authenticate themselves as credible sources of information by registering their profile and interests.
  • SMART is a technology that analyses misinformation campaigns by using phrases, hashtags and account activity which allows bots to be reported and taken down.

MMA will also be monitoring the media coverage of the 2019 National Elections. Download their report:

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