The South African National Editors’ Forum (SANEF) held its annual general meeting in Durban on Saturday and Sunday, July 28-29, 2012.
The organisation which represents editors, senior journalists and journalism trainers from all areas of the South African media, discussed ways to involve more journalists in its work and to consolidate its impact in the national debate about the role of the media in society.
Speakers at the conference included Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng, the Governor of the Reserve Bank, Gill Marcus, the Premier of KwaZulu-Natal, Zweli Mkhize and Pali Lehohla, the Statistician General. All stressed the importance of transparency and effective media reporting to South Africa’s democratic development.
Judge Mogoeng acknowledged the duty of the media to highlight abuses and incapacity in all areas of society, but he urged reporters to be more careful than he believed they had in ensuring their reporting and comment was accurate and fair. There was a risk otherwise that judges and magistrates could be influenced by fear of public opinion.
Ms Marcus affirmed the commitment of her Bank to the greatest possible transparency, but cautioned that central banks should not be seen as the saviour of last resort on issues, such as job-creation and economic growth, that it could not control on its own.
Premier Mkhize acknowledged the media’s watchdog role, especially on corruption, but appealed editors to balance the necessary negative reporting with more messages of hope by telling the stories of survival and success.
Press Ombudsman Joe Thloloe was honoured at the Nat Nakasa Award Dinner and received the award named for the prominent and respected South African journalist and writer who died in exile. Bra Joe, as he is fondly known, accepted the award by saying: “You don’t know what you are doing to me.” SANEF also chose their winner of the SANEF-Wrottesley Award for peer recognition, which was presented to Juanita Williams, Deputy Managing Editor of allAfrica.com. (photos attached)
SANEF members reelected Mondli Makhanya, the Editor-in-Chief of Avusa, as chairman for a second term. Nic Dawes, Editor of the Mail & Guardian, was elected Deputy chairman. Hopewell Radebe, associate editor of the Business Day, was elected secretary-general and Amina Frense-Kasrils Managing Editor – SABC Television News & Current Affairs is Sanef’s new treasurer.
Mpumelelo Mkhabela, Editor of Sowetan, was appointed to head SANEF’s media freedom committee with Raymond Louw as his deputy on the sub-committee.
Other members elected on council are as follows:
Judy Sandison (KZN convenor), Willem Pretorius (Western Cape convenor), Brendan Boyle (Eastern Cape convenor), Makhudu Sefara (Gauteng convenor), Ferial Haffajee (Diversity & Ethics), Jonathan Ancer (Education & Training).
Angela Quintal, Gavin Stewart, Izak Minnaar, Jovial Rantao, Mark van der Velden, Moshoshoe Monare, Patrick Conroy, Paddi Clay and Wally Mbhele.