Sanef Statement 16 March 2015
The Management Committee of the South African National Editors’ Forum (Sanef) at its fortnightly meeting today strongly condemned the directive by the Director-General of the Western Cape, advocate Brent Gerber, to provincial departments to not renew their subscriptions of the Cape Times newspaper. The Management Committee is to send a letter of protest to the WC government about this, calling for the decision to be rescinded.
Gerber wrote to all heads of department on March 9, informing them not to renew their subscriptions or initiate further subscriptions to the newspaper.
“Cabinet has discussed with concern the ongoing decline in the quality of reporting in the Cape Times. As we get newspaper cuttings every day, Cabinet considers it to be fruitless expenditure to renew Cape Times subscriptions,” Gerber wrote in his letter.
Sanef finds it appalling that the executive committee of the Western Cape government, led by a former journalist, Ms Helen Zille, interferes at this level in the affairs of provincial department heads, who should have the freedom to choose which news mediums they find useful or not.
If the Western Cape government has an issue with the quality of content in the Cape Times, they should address it with the editor of that newspaper or through complaints to the office of the Press Ombudsman, and not by effectively calling for a government boycott of the Cape Times.
Mpumelelo Mkhabela Sanef Chairperson 082 456 2941
Adriaan Basson Media Freedom Sub Committee Chair 082 562 2113