By Enoch Sithole

Press ombuds from all over the world under the Organization of News Ombudsmen and Standards Editors (ONO) will hold a conference in Cape Town on May 16-17 to discuss various issues concerning media regulation around the globe.

The conference will be hosted by Media24 and will be held at its headquarters in the city.

Working on the preparations for the event is George Claassen, public editor and ombud for News24 and the Media24 Community Press. He spoke to Ajenda about the preparations, saying they were expecting delegates from several countries.

Among the important issues being dealt with by press ombuds were complaints relating to the conflicts between Russia and Ukraine as well as the war in Gaza involving Israel and Hamas, Claassen said.

These topics will warrant their own discussion in a panel discussion featuring David Regev of the Second Authority for Television and Radion, Jerusalem, and Susan Wessling from the New York Times.

Regrettably, there was little representation of African countries at ONO, with only South Africa having a few members.

The draft programme of the conference includes presentations on elections monitoring featuring the director of Media Monitoring Africa, William Bird, and the Chair of the Department of Journalism at the University of Stellenbosch, Prof. Herman Wasserman.

Veteran journalist and academic, Prof Guy Berger, will take the conference participants through UNESCO’s guidance for the governance of ethical digital platforms.

The conference will hold discussions on the subject of self-regulation vs state regulation led by a panel comprising Loughty Dube of the Zimbabwe Independent and Zoe Titus of the Namibia Media Trust.

The chairperson of the South African Press Council’s Appeal Panel, Judge Bernard Ngoepe, will give a keynote address on the subject of media self-regulation, state interference, and protection of journalists’ independence.