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Celebrating The Hard-won Media Freedom
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Celebrating The Hard-won Media Freedom

Reserve Bank Deputy Governor Kuben NaidooDeputy Reserve Bank Governor Kuben Naidoo

The South African National Editors’ Forum (SANEF) today (Friday, October 18) hosted a gala dinner in honour of those who fought for the freedom of the press, and those who continue to do so.

The Annual SANEF Black Wednesday Gala Dinner was held at the historic Emoyeni venue in Parktown, Johannesburg. It was addressed by Kuben Naidoo, Deputy Governor of the South African Reserve Bank.

Naidoo said that in many ways, the media and central banks struggle with the same dance: the need for independence balanced by the need to be held accountable to society.
Download Kuben Naidoo speech here

Download Sanef Chairperson Mahlatse Mahlase speech here

Download the vote of thanks including sponsors by Sanef Secretary-General Moipone Malefane here.

His speech titled “Independence and accountability: renewing trust” argued that Journalists’ integrity rests on the need to be independent of political interference and commercial imperatives, at the same time holding public trust through being accountable for what they say, write, publish or broadcast.
Similarly, central banks seek to be independent from political and commercial interference while holding the trust of the public through being open, transparent, impartial and accountable. Neither of us, journalists nor central banks, are in a popularity contest. It is our responsibility to tell the truth in all its gory detail. Hence, our social licence to operate depends not on our popularity but on our integrity.

This battle for independence while being trusted by society occurs in an environment of mind-boggling complexity. There are commercial pressures, political noise and the all-important societal context within which South Africa finds itself in today – the ‘baggage’ we all carry, as a nation, so to speak. Added to this is the rapid technological change which democratises the media while simultaneously lowering standards. This technological advance makes it easier and quicker to communicate, to tell stories, and to share an experience or a narrative, but it also makes it harder to distil truth from fiction. Seeking truth and facts has become that much harder.

At this point in time, let me opine that I think you have a tougher job than I do. Maintaining journalistic integrity in today’s world is harder than safeguarding an independent central bank. There is only one central bank per country, and with some effort and careful institutional design, we can try to maintain our independence while still creating mechanisms for society to hold us accountable. We still require integrity, though.

Sanef Chairperson Mahlatse MahlaseSanef chairperson Mahlatse Mahlase

Sanef chairperson Mahlatse Mahlase said the reality of South Africa was that the lifeblood of democracy was under threat, the media industry as a whole was fighting for its economic survival and pushing back on what appears to be an orchestrated campaign to silence investigative reporting exposing the greed and ills of our politicians.

“Yes, today we gather to remember the heroes of our liberation struggle – those who used the might of the pen to risk their lives so that today we can be free to speak truth to power – protected by our celebrated constitution.”

“We honour the men and women who despite the real danger of the evil regime, said we will force into the open the atrocities of the apartheid government,” she said.

She mentioned men and women who fought for media freedom in the country such as Percy Qoboza, Joe Thloele, Mathatha Tsedu, Aagrey Klaaste, Juby Mayet (worked for Drum), Thenjiwe Mtintso (was at Daily Dispatch and detained with Biko), Ruth First.

She also said that it was the 42nd  anniversary of Black Wednesday – when the Nationalist party government attempted to silence the media by banning newspapers and organizations that were part of the black consciousness movement. They also arrested prominent journalists who dedicated their lives to die by the pen. 

The South African National Editors’ Forum (SANEF) today (Friday, October 18) hosted a gala dinner in honour of those who fought for the freedom of the press, and those who continue to do so.

The Annual SANEF Black Wednesday Gala Dinner was held at the historic Emoyeni venue in Parktown, Johannesburg. It was addressed by Kuben Naidoo, Deputy Governor of the South African Reserve Bank.

Naidoo said that in many ways, the media and central banks struggle with the same dance: the need for independence balanced by the need to be held accountable to society.
Download Kuben Naidoo speech here

Download Sanef Chairperson Mahlatse Mahlase speech here

Download the vote of thanks including sponsors by Saned Secretary-General Moipone Malefane here.

His speech titled “Independence and accountability: renewing trust” argued that Journalists’ integrity rests on the need to be independent of political interference and commercial imperatives, at the same time holding public trust through being accountable for what they say, write, publish or broadcast.
Similarly, central banks seek to be independent from political and commercial interference while holding the trust of the public through being open, transparent, impartial and accountable. Neither of us, journalists nor central banks, are in a popularity contest. It is our responsibility to tell the truth, in all its gory detail. Hence, our social licence to operate depends not on our popularity but on our integrity.

This battle for independence while being trusted by society occurs in an environment of mind-boggling complexity. There are commercial pressures, political noise and the all-important societal context within which South Africa finds itself in today – the ‘baggage’ we all carry, as a nation, so to speak. Added to this is the rapid technological change which democratises the media while simultaneously lowering standards. This technological advance makes it easier and quicker to communicate, to tell stories, and to share an experience or a narrative, but it also makes it harder to distil truth from fiction. Seeking truth and facts has become that much harder.

At this point in time, let me opine that I think you have a tougher job than I do. Maintaining journalistic integrity in today’s world is harder than safeguarding an independent central bank. There is only one central bank per country, and with some effort and careful institutional design, we can try to maintain our independence while still creating mechanisms for society to hold us accountable. We still require integrity, though.

Sanef chairperson Mahlatse Mahlase said the reality of South Africa was that the lifeblood of democracy was under threat, the media industry as a whole was fighting for its economic survival and pushing back on what appears to be an orchestrated campaign to silence investigative reporting exposing the greed and ills of our politicians.

“Yes, today we gather to remember the heroes of our liberation struggle – those who used the might of the pen to risk their lives so that today we can be free to speak truth to power – protected by our celebrated constitution.”

“We honour the men and women who despite the real danger of the evil regime, said we will force into the open the atrocities of the apartheid government,” she said.

She mentioned men and women who fought for media freedom in the country such as Percy Qoboza, Joe Thloele, Mathatha Tsedu, Aagrey Klaaste, Juby Mayet (worked for Drum), Thenjiwe Mtintso (was at Daily Dispatch and detained with Biko), Ruth First.

She also said that it was the 42nd  anniversary of Black Wednesday – when the Nationalist party government attempted to silence the media by banning newspapers and organizations that were part of the black consciousness movement. They also arrested prominent journalists who dedicated their lives to die by the pen. 

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Deadline for Submissions to the Independent Inquiry into Media Ethics and Credibility Extended

SANEF has launched an Inquiry into Media Ethics with a panel of commissioners headed by retired judge Kathleen Satchwell, including panellists Nikiwe Bikitsha and Rich Mkhondo. The aim of the Inquiry is to investigate what went wrong with some of our journalism in recent years and how we can strengthen it so that trust and alliances between us and the public can be built. If you are aware of any ethical breaches, evidence of capture of journalists by their sources, capture of publications or media houses, bribery of journalists or any other issues linked to credibility or ethics, including examples of best practice journalism, please contact the panel via the following email address: panel@mediainquiry.co.za.
Please note the deadline for written submissions is 31 January 2020. Submissions can be sent to the same email address. There is no specific format for submissions but please back all your claims with evidence and facts and ensure that you include your contact details.
Click here for a link to the terms of reference of the Inquiry.