IOL has announced that it will be closing its comments section, a few weeks after News24 did the same.
The comments will be closed with immediate effect, Managing Editor Adrian Ephraim said in a statement.
“It is a difficult but necessary decision to make and we arrived at it after careful consideration of all the factors at play,” he said.
“Let me be clear that commenting on an article is not a right, but a courtesy afforded to you by IOL as a reader.”
Ephraim said that racist and sexist abuse in the comments section had become untenable.
An advisory panel had also been set up by Independent Media in 2014 after a 16-year-old intern experienced “horrendous written abuse” in the comments section.
“As in life it only takes a few selfish individuals to ruin things for everyone else. The protection and essence of our hard won democracy requires constant vigilance and debate – not mudslinging and certainly not more hate speech,” Ephraim said.
Readers will still be able to submit opinion pieces to be considered for publication, however these contributions need to be “meaningful”, he said.
“In arriving at our decision, we concluded that we’d rather devote resources to doing better journalism than recruiting more people to fend off the trolls who lurk in the alleys of the comment section, offering zero value to the conversation,” he said.