It is practically impossible for media companies with thousands of followers to moderate all reader comments.
Luckily, the Press Council of South Africa has made provision for dealing with reader comments in Chapter 2 of the Code of Ethics and Conduct for South African Print and Online Media.
This chapter enables media companies to manage reader complaints relating to offensive comments by other readers through a User Generated Content Policy.
In accordance with chapter two of the Press Code, George Herald hereby publishes its User Generated Content (UGC) Policy:
Any person who makes use of George Herald’s online platform extensions* agrees to the following:
The publication, its websites and its social media platforms and all persons who utilise it are subject to the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996.
User Generated Content (UGC) is regulated accordingly. Any user who generates and publishes a comment or any other content on the paper’s online platforms agrees that:
No user may publish content that amounts to propaganda for war, incitement to imminent violence, advocacy of hatred that is based on race, ethnicity, gender or religion and that constitutes incitement to cause harm.
No user may conduct himself in a way that unjustifiably infringes on person’s basic human rights as set out in the Constitution’s Bill of Rights.
No user generated content posted onto George Herald’s online platforms by members of the public reflect in any way the views of the publication or its employees. The media is not responsible for moderating UGC and can therefore not be held liable for the content posted by readers on its social media platforms and websites.
Should users conduct themselves in ways that contravene the above, George Herald is to be alerted as follows: Members of the public must send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the e-mail, the content complained of must be included (eg. a screenshot), as well as the details of the user who made the comment. Identify clearly the platform on which the comment was made as well as the date and time. Complainants must indicate whether the content is in breach of this UGC policy and, if so, in what manner.
Once George Herald has been made aware of the content complained of, it will evaluate whether the content constitutes a breach of its UGC policy. If the content is found to be a violation of the publication’s UGC policy, the comment complained of is to be deleted within a reasonable time.
The publication’s decision is to be communicated to the complainant. The user who made the comment may be banned from the social media platform to which the content was posted.