17 September 2018
The South African National Editors’ Forum (SANEF) is deeply concerned by the utterances of private investigator Paul O Sullivan. O Sullivan made a public threat to close down the Sunday Times newspaper in his response to questions sent to him privately by a journalist, Poloko Tau. He went further to directly threaten, insult and intimidate the journalist.
SANEF believes that while any member of the public is entitled to dispute any allegations put to them by a media house, it is unacceptable to use threats and insults to silence them. It is a violation of the rights of journalists to do their work without fear or favor.
Journalists send questions to newsmakers on a daily basis, as part of gathering information and investigating allegations brought forward. The standard practice is for the newsmakers to respond and based on the answers the editorial team of the media house will decide on a way forward. Journalists have a responsibility to ensure that they have done thorough work to ensure balanced, fair and quality reporting.
SANEF calls on members of the public to engage with editors if they have a problem. Further, if material is published that they are not happy with they need to use the formal complaint channels such as the Press Council.
For more information please contact:
Mahlatse Mahlase – SANEF Chairperson
083 399 2852
Kate Skinner – SANEF Executive Director
082 926 6404