News24 commenting policy

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1. What kind of comments are we looking for?

News24 wants to hear your voice and welcomes healthy and robust conversations in our comments section. We know you, our readers, have strong opinions and we want to give you as many opportunities as possible to discuss the stories we publish. We understand that conversations can get spirited, but please argue fairly and be constructive. In short, treat others as you expect to be treated. To have your comment published, you should endeavour to reflect the values and ethical standards we adhere to as determined by the South African Press Council's press code. Give us your thoughts, ideas, criticism and insights on the topic at hand in an articulate and respectful manner.

2. What kind of comments don't we want?

Here are a few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, vulgarity, profanity (including censored expletives), false personas, spamming, incoherence, irrelevant and off-topic comments.

Most importantly, racist, sexist, offensive and abusive comments or any form of hate speech will not be tolerated, as set out by section 16(2) of the South African Constitution.

We recognise that there is a difference between criticising particular beliefs, institutions, communities or the government as a constitutionally enshrined right to free speech, and attacking people on the basis of their race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability or age. We will not tolerate the latter or any comments that could be interpreted as such.

Readers undertake not to post comments to News24 that may be illegal, defamatory, infringing, harassing, obscene, commercial advertising, personal marketing, untrue, incorrect or harmful and we reserve the right to remove such content.

3. Why do we moderate comments?

Our aim is to create a space for constructive conversations between you, our readers. By moderating comments, we make sure it stays relevant and respectful, and adds value to the quality of our reportage and your experience as a reader.

While moderation decisions are subjective, our moderators strive to be fair and consistent at all times. Their moderation decisions are final. It is unfortunately not possible for us to enter into correspondence regarding all moderation activity. We will however read all correspondence and take action where necessary.

4. Why are comments closed on certain articles?

We reserve the right to close comments on specific topics or articles. Comments on an article will be closed after two days. We may also decide to close comments on an article after a certain period if the conversation no longer contributes to the substance of the debate. This is to ensure that the conversation in the comments section remains civil and constructive.

5. Why are comments for subscribers only?

The ability to read and write comments is a benefit that is offered as part of the News24 subscription service. As a subscriber you have the privilege of being part of and shaping the conversation. Our goal is to create a welcoming, engaging place built on a foundation of trust and respect between our readers and our journalists. We hope that this will also encourage members to take responsibility for their comments.

6. When and where will your comments be published?

Your comments are published at the bottom of the article you made them on. Comments are typically posted faster during business hours and moderation may be less frequent in the evening and on weekends. Please be patient with us during these hours.

7. Can you criticise News24 in the comments?

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, and won't hesitate to approve these. However, personal attacks on our journalists, writers or brands are not allowed. Criticism should be directed at the substance of articles.

8. Why have you been given a timeout and how long will it last?

Our moderators may decide to give you a timeout if you behave in a way that transgresses our policy or threatens the values of respect and civility we strive to uphold in our comments section. If you make the same transgression three times, you will be given a timeout. Your timeout will last 24 hours after which you will be able to comment again. If you receive three timeouts and our moderators see fit, you may be banned permanently from participating in the comments section.

9. Why have you been banned from commenting?

Participants who seriously, persistently or wilfully contravene our commenting policy or terms and conditions will have their posting privileges withdrawn. This is not an action that we take lightly or arbitrarily. We are aiming to create a valuable experience consistent with News24's values, and we reserve the right to make decisions which we feel support that.

10. Can you appeal your ban?

You can appeal your ban by emailing comments@news24.com. The decision to overturn a ban or not happens at the discretion of the News24 moderators and is final.

11. Should you share tips on possible news stories in the comments? What if you spot an error and want to report it?

We encourage you to send tip-offs for stories to tips@24.comor story ideas to feedback@news24.com. Spelling errors, typos or small mistakes should be sent to feedback@news24.comwhile mistakes regarding the substance of a story should be reported to News24's public editor, George Claassen (george.claassen@media24.com).  

12. Why doesn't your comment appear immediately?

If your comment does not immediately appear on the site after posting, it may have been flagged for review. There are a number of things which will get your comment flagged for review. We ask that you please keep that in mind before resubmitting the comment multiple times or contacting us about it. If you register with an offensive username, you will be given a timeout until you change your username.

13. Can you edit or delete your comment?

You can edit your comment for a short period after you posted it in order to correct typos and errors. You cannot delete your comment after posting it. If there is a serious reason for your comment to be deleted you may contact the News24 moderators at feedback@news24.com.

14. How do you report an offensive or abusive comment?

You can report a comment by hitting the "report" button at the bottom of the comment. We encourage you to report untrue, inaccurate, defamatory, illegal, infringing and/or harmful comments to comments@news24.com. We undertake to correct and/or remove such content or any part thereof if the person reporting such content provided reasonable grounds to prove the alleged nature of the content.

15. Why is my comment in a language other than English not approved?

News24 is an English language publication and to be fair to all our readers, who may not understand all 11 official languages, we only allow comments in English, with the exception of colloquialisms and commonly known words and phrases.

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