25 January 2019
Following the damaging publication of allegations by TimesLive of an article, based on what appears to be a leaked email, that insinuated that the then Bosasa Group of companies may have donated an amount of R100 000 in support of the SABC 8, we feel it necessary to set out the facts and our position in greater detail. As such we have now called upon an Independent Auditing Firm (name to be released in due course) to conduct a full inspection of the account for the purpose of transparency. We will publish the findings in full when completed.
The South African National Editors Forum (SANEF) is a non for profit association whose purpose is to advance journalism – a critical component of media freedom and access to information as enshrined in our constitution. We supported the SABC 8 because they were fighting a just cause bigger than they were and for which many members of the public rightly offered their support. Without the crowd-funding effort, it would have been impossible to offer any material support to these colleagues besides issuing the usual statements of condemnation of actions that destroy journalism. SANEF will do this again without hesitation whenever this is required in the future.
The emergence of an alleged email, purportedly from within Bosasa suggesting that they may have contributed to the SABC 8 has caused some members of the public to question the ethical commitments of SANEF. We want to state categorically that we never solicited funds from Bosasa. What we issued was a call for members of the public to donate through the crowd-funding platform, and we remain grateful for all the contributions received.
In our own investigation, we found no evidence that any monies were received from Bosasa.
We would like to remind fellow South Africans that due to the work journalists have done over the years to expose corruption and efforts to undermine democracy, often under intense political and public pressure, means there are people and interests who aim to permanently damage the trust the public has in South African journalism.
While editorial mistakes contribute in the erosion of that trust, we urge the public to not underestimate what appears to be strategically and clinically organised efforts to erode the credibility of journalists and their endeavours to inform the public so it may participate meaningfully in the affairs of our country.
SANEF will continue to champion the cause of independent journalism, to support journalists under threat in our own country and abroad, and to support the deepening of our democracy.
That being said we will not condone shoddy journalism and have no hesitation in calling to order our own in the media, hence every effort is being made to institute an independent commission of inquiry into credibility and ethics in the media. Members of the public will be encouraged to participate and lodge complaints.
For more information please contact:
Mahlatse Mahlase – SANEF Chairperson, 083 399 2852
Mary Papayya – SANEF Media Freedom Chair, 082 379 4957
Sam Mkokeli – SANEF Council Member, 082 084 2051
Kate Skinner – SANEF Executive Director, 082 926 6404