Attention Media Houses: For Immediate Release:

Monday, 4 April 2020

PRESS RELEASE: IJR PUBLISHES POLICY BRIEF ON PUBLIC USE OF AND TRUST IN NEWS SOURCES

To inform communication strategies during the COVID-19 outbreak, the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation (IJR) has published a new policy brief on South Africans’ use of and trust in news sources.

Based off the 2019 results of IJR’s regular and nationally representative public opinion survey, the South African Reconciliation Barometer (SARB), the policy brief identifies television and radio as South Africans’ most popular and trusted sources of news.

Print newspapers are only used regularly by a third of South Africans, while respondents report relying more on friends and family for current affairs news than newspapers. Online sources of information – online news outlets and social media pages – are the least popular and least trusted sources of news.

Young South Africans access a wider variety of news sources than older respondents, particularly online sources. Older South Africans, more susceptible to the debilitating effects of COVID-19, rely heavily on television and radio news broadcasts.

The SABC, as the largest broadcaster and the most trusted institution in the country, has an immense responsibility to elevate public awareness around the national lockdown and COVID-19, across television and radio stations.

To minimise the potentially disastrous effects of the national lockdown and the outbreak of COVID-19, the South African public must be informed about the rationale and regulations for the lockdown, as well as the causes and effects of COVID-19. To reach older South Africans and a wide audience, government departments must prioritise public service announcements and infomercials on television and radio.

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Enquiries: Ms Samantha Kambule, Project Leader for Communications and Advocacy, IJR

Email: skambule@ijr.org.za