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

The South African National Editors’ Forum (SANEF) is pleased to announce today (12 November 2019) that the deadline for submissions to the independent Media Credibility and Ethics Inquiry has been extended to Friday 31st of January 2020. This is to encourage as many organisations and individuals as possible to make submissions.

A call to participate
SANEF is encouraging all interested organisations and individuals to write submissions to the Panel at panel@mediainquiry.co.za. The panellists will analyse the submissions and, if they feel it is necessary, will call on members of the public and organisations to make further written and/or oral submissions.

The Panel’s recommendations will be presented to a major media conference for discussion in mid-2020 where an industry-wide action plan will be adopted. SANEF believes that the plan will go a long way to rebuilding trust in our industry.

Background to the Inquiry

On 24 June 2019, SANEF launched the Inquiry with a panel of commissioners headed by retired judge, Kathleeen Satchwell, including panellists, Nikiwe Bikitsha and Rich Mkhondo.

The launch of the Inquiry was triggered by several apologies made by the Sunday Times correcting mistakes over stories such as the so-called “Rogue Unit” story. Also, allegations were made at the Zondo Commission by security and prison services company, BOSASA that they had paid journalists to ensure positive coverage.

SANEF welcomed the apologies made by the Sunday Times, but we felt that this was just the first step in rebuilding the public trust. We stated that we saw this as a moment for the newspaper – but also for all media houses – to seriously introspect and review editorial systems and practices to enhance media ethics and credibility.

It was at this point that we announced we would be launching our independent investigation.

SANEF believes the Inquiry is taking place against a broader backdrop of state capture in South Africa, with the media industry not being immune from being drawn into manipulative practices and collusions.

Terms of reference of the Inquiry
The terms of reference include the following:
• To investigate ethical breaches on the part of the media industry in South Africa including obstacles to accountable and credible media practice in a democratic environment;
• To consider the occasion, nature, identity, reasons and impetus of such breaches as well as solutions to the current problems confronting professional and ethical journalist practice;
• To investigate the content and implementation of various editorial codes in South Africa and internationally in contributing to professional and ethical journalistic practice; and
• For the panel to consult with media companies and owners, political parties, government (at all levels), civil society, editors and journalists and members of the public.
Please find the terms of reference here.

For more information please contact:
Kate Skinner – SANEF Executive Director 082 926 6404
Katy Katopodis – SANEF Acting Chairperson – 082 802 7022
Moipone Malefane – SANEF Secretary General – 082 772 5861
Mary Papayya – SANEF Media Freedom, Acting Chair – 082 379 4957
Hopewell Radebe – SANEF Acting Gauteng Regional Convenor 083 582 1734