The South African National Editors’ Forum (SANEF) calls on the publishers of the SA Jewish Report to reconsider their position, following the publication’s expulsion from the Press Council of South Africa.
SANEF finds it unfortunate that the South African Jewish Report forced the hand of the Press Council of South Africa (PCSA) to take the unprecedented action of expelling the SAJR after the publication refused to abide by the rulings of the Acting Press Ombud and the PCSA Chair of Appeals, Judge Bernard Ngoepe.
The matter stemmed from a complaint by the SA BDS Coalition and GIWUSA v SA Jewish Report. According to Press Council Chair Judge Phillip Levinsohn, the decision was taken after lengthy correspondence and after the SA Jewish Report had refused to abide by the finding against them. Judge Levinsohn said the Council spent time seeking to resolve the issue. However, the SA Jewish Report refused to publish the ruling against them.
SANEF calls on all members of the PCSA to respect the Press Council and its rulings. The Press Council is the bulwark against interference in the media and any self-respecting media organisation should be a member of the Press Council.
The Press Council continues to adjudicate complaints by members of the public and their findings, regardless of how they affect any member, must be respected.
The work of the PCSA is important in strengthening our democracy and ensuring that freedom of speech is protected while the highest ethical standards are upheld by the media.
SANEF reiterates our support for the Press Council and wish to implore all members, who subscribe to the principles of the co-regulatory mechanism, to remain committed to the system which is regarded as one of the best in the world.
We note that the Press Council is a voluntary, co-regulatory, public-dominated body which, inter alia, mediates and hand down binding ruling in terms of the Press Code. It does that to ensure ethical, fair, journalism.
We also wish to remind those who join the PCSA that they inadvertently commit to being bound by, and to publish, rulings of the Press Ombud and the Press Council’s appeals bodies. It should also be noted that dissatisfied parties with Press Ombuds’ rulings have the right to take them on appeal to the Appeals Panel, headed by an eminent, retired Judge, and if they are still unhappy, that can take the process on judicial review.
It is our view that no member of the Press Council should simply refuse to publish rulings against them. Therefore, compliance by the council’s members is deemed essential for its sustainability and credibility. Hence, the idea of simply refusing to adhere to its rulings not only undermines the Press Council but is also unfair to the complainants.
We implore the publishers of the SA Jewish Report to reconsider their position and abide by the ruling and to return to the fold of the PCSA.
* The PCSA rulings are available at https://presscouncil.org.za/Ruling?page=1
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
Monica Laganparsad – Acting Secretary-General (082) 578-6111
Nwabisa Makunga – Treasurer (082) 555-1972
Makhudu Sefara – SANEF Acting Media Freedom Chair (079) 177-2134
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