JOHANNESBURG – The South African National Editors’ Forum (Sanef) today condemned fake news websites and called on South Africans not to share news from hoax sites but use credible sources of information.
This comes after a hoax news website on Monday reported that Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu had died after he was readmitted to hospital.
“Sanef notes and strongly condemns yesterday’s false story about the well-being of Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu which has done the rounds on social media,” the forum said in a statement.
The ANC Women’s League had to issue an “unreserved apology” on Monday after its secretary-general, Meokgo Matuba, passed the organisation’s condolences to the Tutu family without knowing the source of the news was a hoax site.
There have also been recent reports about former president, Thabo Mbeki.
“Such inaccurate reports by websites masquerading as credible news sources are highly damaging and hurtful to those involved and their families. They also do a great disservice to legitimate news websites and the news industry as a whole,” Sanef said.
Sanef said that many of these fake sites purposefully use names and logos very similar to authentic media houses in an attempt to deceive their readers.
“We call on the publishers to desist from publishing these false and inflammatory stories with immediate effect as it is grossly irresponsible,” Sanef said.
“Sanef also calls on all South Africans not to perpetuate false news cycles by sharing such stories on their social media networks. We ask that greater attention be given to the source of news before simply retweeting, or sharing.”
Sanef said it would look for an appropriate course of action to take against such fake news sites.
– African News Agency