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18 April 2019 | Story Rulanzen Martin

The Institute for Reconciliation and Social Justice IRSJ) has initiated a Social Justice Week at the University of the Free State (UFS), which started on Friday 12 April  until Wednesday 17 April 2019. 

Ten key events took place during the week. It ranged from dialogues, workshops, talk shows, debates, and interactive displays and events on issues of multilingualism and diversity, social innovation, engaged scholarship, the Fourth Industrial Revolution, gender sensitisation, sexual consent, sexual preparedness, universal access, disability, anti-discrimination, and security.

There was also a round-table discussion on 17 April 2019 with various UFS stakeholders on off-campus student security as well as an inter-institutional discussion on the same topic. The UFS Debating Society will take on the topic of the UFS Language Policy, while Olga Barends from the Free State Centre for Human Rights will host a dialogue on sexual consent.

The IRSJ has also designed and implemented SOJO-VATION: Social Innovation/ Social Change, which strives to create a foundational platform where ideas of social justice, innovation, and engaged scholarship at the UFS and in society can be hosted. SOJO-VATION partners with the Office for Student Leadership, Development, and Community Engagement.

The collaborating partners for the Social Justice Week includes various UFS stakeholders such as the Sasol library, the Gender and Sexual Equity Office, UFS Protection Services, the Free State Centre for Human Rights, the Student Representative Council (SRC), the Office for Student Leadership Development, Kovsie Innovation, GALA, the FFree State Centre for Human Rights, SRC Associations, the Office for Student Governance, Kovsie Innovate, Start-Up-Grind, EVC, EBL, Community Engagement, the Institutional Transformation Plan (ITP) Dialogues Office, Residence Dialogues, UFS Debating Society, Debate Afrika!, the Center for Universal Access and Disability Support (CUADS), and the Gateway Office. 

News Archive

Prof Mary Kay Blakely from the Missouri School of Journalism (USA) speaks about the age of misinformation
2015-03-10

 

Prof Mary Kay Blakely  

Living in an age where misinformation is as common as loadshedding in South Africa, we all tend to ask who we can trust when reading or hearing the news media.

Prof Mary Kay Blakely from the Missouri School of Journalism (Columbia, USA) presented a public lecture recently entitled The age of misinformation: Who do you trust? at the UFS. She stressed the point of how, with the social media revolution and the rise of the citizen journalist, our news interests of old are being fed by many more new channels, influences, and opinions. This leaves us to question what is still true and what is still objective

For example, Blakely mentioned that “gossip, scandal, and celebrities have always been our fascination – even more so today.”

“But nowadays, we have to become even more critical thinkers.”

During Blakely’s presentation, she stated the harsh reality that objectivity is extremely difficult. True objectivity, which means keeping  yourself completely out of the story you cover, is virtually impossible.

“It is not just about covering both sides of the story. Often, there are far more sides to a story than just two, probably even five.”

Therefore, it comes down to fairness, balance, and truth, which are really important in covering a story. Hence, it is the obligation of the media to be fair, balanced, and truthful while recognising their own biases. 

Prof Mary Kay Blakely – Short Bio:

Prof Mary Kay Blakely is the author of the critically-acclaimed books Wake Me When It's Over, American Mom and Red, White and O So Blue. Her essays on social and political issues have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Mother Jones, LIFE, and Vogue, among others.

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