The South African National Editors’ Forum (SANEF), a constituent of the Press Council, yet again reminds journalists of this code as it has sadly, and regrettably, learnt of the election of Edwin Ntshidi as a PR councillor of Action SA in the City of Johannesburg.
On independence and matters relating to conflict of interest, the Press Code clearly states that: “The media shall not allow commercial, political, personal or other non-professional considerations to influence reporting, and avoid conflicts of interest as well as practices that could lead readers to doubt the media’s independence and professionalism.”
Ntshidi, a freelance reporter, covered the recently concluded municipal elections for EWN. While we are happy that he is no longer a reporter, and his association with EWN ceased, we are equally concerned at his conduct and why he agreed to be an Action SA candidate, while he was reporting on politics, including the very same party he now represents. It must be noted Ntshidi never disclosed to EWN his political ambitions.
SANEF takes ethical journalism, fair and balanced reporting, and the non-association of journalists with political parties seriously, hence our disappointment at this latest development.
This development is in contrast with the work the entire media fraternity, SANEF and other stakeholders, have been doing in regaining the lost trust in the media. Journalists are always advised to steer clear of conflict of interest, be trustworthy and do their work with integrity.
Media entities in South Africa are led by editors who always encourage their journalists to be independent, and practise high standards of journalism which should not be compromised by the lure of political office. Our audiences, in a time we are asking them to trust us again, cannot at this point doubt our political independence.
Whenever matters of conflict of interests arise, be it political or commercial, journalists are advised to always alert their editors so that they can act on these.
Note to Editors: The South African National Editors’ Forum (SANEF) is a non-profit organisation whose members are editors, senior journalists, and journalism trainers from all areas of the South African media. We are committed to championing South Africa’s hard-won freedom of expression and promoting quality, ethics, and diversity in the South African media. We promote excellence in journalism through fighting for media freedom, writing policy submissions, research and education and training programmes. SANEF is not a union.
For more information please contact:
Sbu Ngalwa – SANEF Chairperson (073) 404-1415
Adriaan Basson – SANEF Deputy Chairperson (082) 562-2113
Mahlatse Mahlase – Secretary General (083) 399-2852
Nwabisa Makunga – Treasurer (082) 555-1972
Mary Papayya – SANEF Media Freedom Chair (082) 379-4957
Asanda Ngoasheng – Western Cape Convenor – 082 610-9374
Judy Sandison – SANEF KZN Convenor (082) 571-3334
Katy Katopodis – SANEF Gauteng Convenor (082) 805-7022
Chiara Carter – SANEF Eastern Cape Convenor (082) 659-9162
Reggy Moalusi – SANEF Executive Director (071) 682-3695