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SA National Editors’ Forum Press Statement following Council Meeting in Cape Town – 13 February 2010

Statement by the South African National Editors’ Forum (Sanef)
13 February 2010

Embargoed until 6.30pm, Saturday 13 February.

A meeting of the council of the South African National Editors’ Forum in Cape Town today (13 February 2010) resolved that:

–  Because some police officers continue to treat journalists in a negative manner, enforcing unofficial restrictions in media reporting, SANEF will revive its discussions with senior police leaders to ensure that the media is allowed to render its public service of reporting the fight against crime.

– SANEF commits itself to continue to lobby government to amend all punitive laws including Section 205 of the Criminal Procedures Act, and also for the media provisions of Protection of Personal Privacy Bill to be withdrawn. A colloquium between SANEF and the relevant government ministries will be convened soon.

– Sanef calls on the National Director of Public Prosecutions, Menzi Simelane, to respond to an earlier letter the forum has sent his office calling on him to revoke his decision to gag prosecutors from speaking to the media. Sanef calls on him to accord prosecutors their professional status and responsibilities to communicate to the public.

– SANEF will seek an urgent meeting with Fifa and the LOC to express media dissatisfaction about outstanding restrictive conditions for registration and accreditation, especially with regard to digital media and press photographers.

– At the meeting SANEF council members were addressed by the President of the South African Football Association (SAFA) Kirstan [CORRECT] Nematandani who encouraged SANEF and its membership to give maximum coverage to the World Cup, saying media support to the event was “invaluable”.

– Noting that many South African institutions are increasingly blocking their members from speaking to the public via the media, SANEF will develop a campaign to promote a national culture of openness.

– Chief Justice Sandile Ngcobo was a keynote speaker at a special SANEF Council dinner held at 6 On Spin in Cape Town. A copy of his speech will be available at http://www.sanef.org.za

– The editors received a report from Joe Thloloe, press ombudsman, who reported that the Press Council was fully staffed and had handled nearly 70 complaints over the previous three months. The ombudsman encouraged editors to help publicise the services of office to the public.

SANEF is a voluntary forum of editors, senior journalists and journalism trainers from all areas of the media industry in South Africa.  Its primary aim is to promote the quality
and ethics of journalism, to reflect the diversity of South Africa, and to champion freedom of expression.

Issued by: SA National Editors’ Forum (SANEF)