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Sanef Concerned by Judge Zondo’s Comments on the Media

22 January 2019

The South African National Editors’ Forum notes with deep concern that Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo has again taken the media to task for publishing testimony that has not been publicly presented before the state capture inquiry.

SANEF wishes to state it was never consulted on the regulations. When they were first distributed last year, we immediately made contact with the commission and telephonically outlined our objections.

A meeting that was planned for the first day of the inquiry never went ahead despite SANEF representatives availing themselves for the set time.

When Judge Zondo made similar statements lambasting the media for reporting on evidence yet to be publicly presented to the commission in November 2018, we again wrote to the Secretariat asking for a meeting.

Unfortunately the meeting never took place. We again reiterate our request to meet with the Commission.

SANEF believes that in principle the media and the public have the right to access documents submitted to the Commission and that the media has the right to publish such documents.

The rights of the media and the public are protected by Section 16 of the Constitution and the related principle of open justice.

We believe the media play a critical role in protecting and promoting the public’s right to receive information. Further, we believe the proceedings of this Commission are of extraordinary public importance.

Given this background and context we believe that certain regulations of the commission must be reviewed – in particular regulations 11(3) and 12(2) (c).

We believe that these regulations criminalise journalism and we have raised this issue with the Commission.  We were under the impression that following our engagement the regulations were under review and we would be consulted on a way forward.

We would appreciate an opportunity to give further input on why we believe these sections should either be scrapped in their entirety or exempt journalists. SANEF supports Media Monitoring Africa in its efforts to challenge the rules, if necessary in court.

SANEF is a body representing senior journalists and editors of newspapers, broadcast and digital platforms in our country. We champion media freedom and the protection of journalists under threat in our democracy.


For more information please contact:

Mahlatse Mahlase – SANEF Chairperson, 083 399 2852

Mary Papayya – SANEF Chairperson – Media Freedom Sub-Committee, 082 379 4957

Kate Skinner – SANEF Executive Director, 082 926 6404