TODAY saw the end of the highly successful, twenty first edition of Highway Africa in Grahamstown, Eastern Cape where the South African National Editors’ Forum (SANEF) held its Council meeting.
The meeting started on a sad note as SANEF noted the passing of journalists Mike Green (87) and Mzimasi Mgebisa (41). Mgebisa passed on earlier this week at Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital after suffering from kidney failure.
Mgebisa worked as both a print and broadcast journalist. He started at The Star and later worked for the Sunday Times. He was also known as shrewd soccer analyst at SABC Sport.
Veteran journalist Green was an old-school journalist and the former editor of the Daily News in KwaZulu-Natal, where he was frequently harassed under stringent apartheid media laws and restrictions.
He worked as a journalist for about 45 years, then carried on writing.
Green hoped to study music and eventually studied after being awarded Nieman fellowship in journalism at Harvard.
The Information Regulator, Advocate Pansy Tlakula, accompanied by part-time member of the Regulator, Mr Sizwe Snail ka Mtuze, briefed Council on the implications of the Protection of the Personal Information Act (POPIA) in relation to the media fraternity.
She pointed out that while there are exceptions in the Act related to use of personal information for journalistic purposes and a public interest override, that the media will still need to make sure they comply with sections of the law.
In this regard, the media needs to make sure that their codes of conduct, including the Press Code, comply with the Act. SANEF and IR will further engage to ensure the media complies with the Act and to draft regulations to the issue in the next few weeks.
The meeting discussed a number of concerning events that pose a threat to media freedom. These include the growing incidents of journalist intimidation and illegal surveillance, where editors were followed and even photographed while on private business.
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Sbu Ngalwa on 073 404 1415
Reggy Moalusi on 071 682 3695