We, the undersigned activists, academics, journalists, readers and supporters of New Frame and working class friends of the publication note that Mr Singham abruptly withdrew all funding to New Frame on/or about 29 June 2022, causing it to shut down and begin retrenching staff two days later on 1 July 2022.
New Frame was fully funded by Singham for almost four years, purportedly as an independent, social justice, pro-working class publication. As the only publication in South Africa covering news, features, sport and culture from a working class perspective, it occupied a valuable position in the mediascape and it’s articles were frequently republished by the mainstream and alternative media in South Africa and many other countries.
New Frame should not have been summarily shut down without notice to its readers, or to staff, many of whom are working class and have families to support.
The sudden closure of New Frame was done with no time afforded to New Frame’s staff to seek alternative funding that would sustain the publication.
The closure came without any explanation from the funder and has been described by many in the media, activist, social movement and academic terrains as abrupt, callous and shameful, a move that will leave journalism poorer.
It also smacks of a blatant disregard for the working class communities in South Africa that New Frame’s staff were embedded in – the very communities that the publication had pledged to serve faithfully.
Philanthropic media funders, and especially those who so publicly identify themselves as being ‘left/progressive’, have a public duty to be accountable to their readers and ethically, cannot simply make decisions from far flung countries to close down publications without notice.
We therefore call on Roy Singham to transfer New Frame to the collective control of its journalists, administrative and visual teams and to continue to fund the publication for a period of seven months with no ideological strings attached in order to afford this independent news outlet the opportunity to raise enough funding to continue its existence.