News24 Editor-in-Chief Andrew Trench has announced that they will switch off comments on articles from 11 September.
He said 24.com will “join international news leaders by implementing an important change in how we handle comments on our site”.
He said they will implement “a different approach to how we handle user contributions and engagement with our content on our platform”.
“We have decided that we wish to be known for the quality of our content rather than for our comments,” said Trench.
He said the “tone and substance of many of our comments appear increasingly at odds with the mission of editorial excellence which we have set for ourselves”.
He said News24’s commentators insist on pushing the boundaries of free speech in South Africa, and that many comments drift towards hate speech at worst, and are often laced with prejudice.
“Interesting and considered contributions are drowned out by a cacophony of insults from a minority of users.”
Trench said they will continue to invite user contributions to be submitted to their MyNews24 platform.
“Contributions will be evaluated by our editors and published if we feel that they are interesting and valuable.”