From the Editor

Who’s the fake news

In Perdeby’s 12 March edition we published an article titled “SRC calls for first quarter student forum meeting” on the student forum meeting set to take place on the evening of 27 March. We approached the SRC for their plan of action so we could include some of this information in the article, as well as verify some facts we had already included. We received no response. The lack of response was indicated in the article as per section 1.8 of the South African Press Code.

But then Perdeby was mentioned in a tweet by SRC Secretary Soraia Machado claiming that we had published false information. This tweet was then responded to by the official twitter account of the SRC in which the SRC accused Perdeby of being “fake news”.

I find it highly problematic that a structure that is supposed to be an example of leadership on campus resorts to petty name calling on social media when it is clear their house is not in order when it comes to communication. It is even more worrying that they would use the term “fake news” when they don’t like what they read in the media. So this week I’ll use my editorial to give you the facts. On 21 February, SRC President Kwena Moloto, Perdeby news editor Ditebogo Tshaka and I had a meeting to discuss an already unfolding communication failure from the SRC’s side. Moloto agreed that there is a communication failure and cited the large volume of information they are faced with on a daily basis. Moloto suggested that we set up a WhatsApp group to better facilitate communication between Perdeby and the SRC.

This WhatsApp group includes myself, news editor Ditebogo Tshaka, SRC President Kwena Moloto, SRC Secretary Soraia Machado, SRC Deputy-secretary Kutlwano Mositi, and SRC member in charge of Marketing, Media and Communications Kyle Goosen. After the SRC posted on Facebook on 5 March that they would be holding a student forum, Tshaka contacted Mositi since he posted the message on behalf of the SRC. After not receiving a response, Tshaka sent a message on the SRC/Perdeby Coms Group that asked “Please send the SRC’s Plan of Action for the student. [sic]” on 8 March. Mositi responded and said “@Kwena please send it”. On 9 March, Tshaka sent an email to Moloto and posted on the WhatsApp group “@Kwena you’ve got mail” to notify the SRC that we had sent them an email. Tshaka contacted Moloto to inform him that we had until 17:00 to add comment before we went to print. We did not receive the plan of action in time to go to print, nor have we received it since then. The paper went to print on the evening of Friday 9 March.

Read more: Who’s the fake news

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