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Sanef Shocked By Allegations That Mantashe Paid Sunday World Journalists
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Sanef Shocked By Allegations That Mantashe Paid Sunday World Journalists

The South African National Editors’ Forum (SANEF) is shocked to hear on 27th October 2019 of the Minister of Mineral and Energy Affairs, Gwede Mantashe’s brazen alleged admission that he paid two Sunday World journalists to “bury” a story about his relationship with a student, Lerato Habiba Makgatho.

According to the Sunday World, Mantashe paid the journalists R70 000 to “destroy evidence” backing the story. Mantashe has not revealed the names of the journalists.
SANEF believes that “paid for” or what is known as “brown envelope” journalism is completely counter to journalism ethics. Section 2 of the Press Council Code deals with “Independence and Conflicts of Interest”. The Code states clearly that:
The media shall:
2.1 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;
2.2 not accept any benefit which may influence coverage;
2.3 indicate clearly when an outside organization has contributed to the cost of newsgathering; and
2.4 keep editorial material clearly distinct from advertising and sponsored events.
SANEF will be pursuing the following actions:
– Writing to the Minister to request that he reveals the names of the journalists involved;
– Supporting Sunday World’s investigations into the matter including their commitment to fire journalists if there is concrete evidence of them taking a bribe and ensuring that all their journalists sign pledges to ensure ethical journalism; and
– Adding a specific clause to our “Draft rules of engagement” with political parties to call for politicians to support an outright ban on any form of “brown envelope” journalism.
SANEF champions ethical journalism. We believe that if anyone has any evidence of unethical journalism – including the very serious breach of accepting funds for journalism – they should go to the Press Council.
Further, we want to remind the public that we have launched our own independent Inquiry into Media Credibility and Ethics, chaired by retired Judge Kathleen Satchwell. We encourage any South African with evidence of journalists acting unethically or illegally to approach Judge Satchwell and the authorities. Please send submissions to – panel@mediainquiry.co.za.

For more information please contact:
Mahlatse Mahlase – SANEF Chairperson, 083 399-2852
Moipone Malefane – SANEF Secretary-General, 082 772-5861
Katy Katopodis – Deputy Chairperson, 082 805-7022
Kate Skinner – SANEF Executive Director, 082 926 6404

1 comment

  • admin

    […] After a woman told the Sunday World that Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe was a “tiger” in bed, it prompted possibly more discussion on social media than the more damaging allegation: the newspaper reported Mantashe had said he’d paid two journalists R70,000 to make the story go away. The SA National Editors Forum is outraged. […]

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Deadline for Submissions to the Independent Inquiry into Media Ethics and Credibility Extended

SANEF has launched an Inquiry into Media Ethics with a panel of commissioners headed by retired judge Kathleen Satchwell, including panellists Nikiwe Bikitsha and Rich Mkhondo. The aim of the Inquiry is to investigate what went wrong with some of our journalism in recent years and how we can strengthen it so that trust and alliances between us and the public can be built. If you are aware of any ethical breaches, evidence of capture of journalists by their sources, capture of publications or media houses, bribery of journalists or any other issues linked to credibility or ethics, including examples of best practice journalism, please contact the panel via the following email address: panel@mediainquiry.co.za.
Please note the deadline for written submissions is 31 January 2020. Submissions can be sent to the same email address. There is no specific format for submissions but please back all your claims with evidence and facts and ensure that you include your contact details.
Click here for a link to the terms of reference of the Inquiry.