On Tuesday, News24, one of South Africa’s primary online news destinations, announced that it would be disabling its comments sections, and South Africans had a lot to say about it. AAISHA DADI PATEL rounds up.
In a statement, News24 editor-in-chief Andrew Trench explained the company’s decision saying it had come following “follows months of internal debate and discussion”.
“The end result of these debates is that we have decided that we wish to be known for the quality of our content rather than for our comments,” he said.
It’s true that over the years News24 has developed the reputation of being a place where you actually do not want to read the comments, lest you open yourself up to a tsunami of hate and vitriol. Unless you’re bored, and looking for something to laugh at, then of course, that’s exactly where you go.
— Sibongile Mafu (@sboshmafu) September 8, 2015
— Adrian Ephraim (@AdrianEphraim) September 8, 2015
When the news came out on Tuesday morning, many were ecstatic.
— Ronald Phiri (@RonaldPhiri01) September 8, 2015
To News24 comments pic.twitter.com/T3WsOo30Qj
— OldLadyPants (@oldladypants) September 8, 2015
HONEST NEWS24 MEDIA STATEMENT: “It was cheaper to disable comments than to hire lawyers for publishing hate speech. Our readers are morons” — Paul Berkowitz (@paulyberk) September 8, 2015
In the good spirit of things, comedian Deep Fried Man even added his two cents to it all
— Deep Fried Man (@DeepFriedMan) September 8, 2015
But some people were highly displeased, and claimed the comments were being closed because of censorship, an ANC conspiracy or “the Dingaan regime”. (Ya, we don’t know what they’re talking about either.)
— Sable Banterlope (@comradesipho) September 8, 2015
— Anne Hirsch (@Anne_Hirsch) September 8, 2015
But seriously though, could this be an attempt by Naspers – Media24’s parent company – to further redress its role in supporting apartheid? All is not lost for those who’ll miss it the most – as this tweep pointed out, the comments section in the Afrikaans version of the site is still very much active
What do you make of it all? Let us know in our very much open and available comments section.