Leading into the elective conference of the African National Congress, the South African National Editors’ Forum (Sanef) would like to remind journalists on the need to uphold the highest standards of ethics as prescribed in the Press Code and to report without fear or favour.
We wish to note that Tiso Blackstar has instituted of disciplinary proceedings against their reporter, Jan-Jan Joubert, on the basis that the journalist had not declared an apparent conflict interest in the coverage of a story linked to the Democratic Alliance. We respect the newspaper’s internal disciplinary processes and trust that they will uphold their internal Code of Conduct.
The preamble to the Press Code states: “As journalists we commit ourselves to the highest standards, to maintain credibility and keep the trust of the public. This means always … acting independently.”
In a statement released on 15 February 2014 in the wake of the Brendan Boyle/Donwald Pressly controversy, Sanef stated an unambiguous position in relation to conflicted journalists:
“…editors are the guardians of the highest standards of journalism in their newsrooms and must at all times ensure that journalists do not conduct themselves in a manner that could lead audiences to doubt their political independence. There is a need to make newsrooms aware of potential conflict of interests that may arise from time to time – be they political or commercial.”
We wish to take this opportunity to also express disappointment at the recent attempt to reveal the sources of Jacques Pauw’s book, The President’s Keepers. The protection of sources is at the heart of our profession and no journalist, whether in a rival organisation or not, should ever jeopardise a source. Our members are reminded that this protection of sources by journalists is sacrosanct.
Sanef Chairperson – Mahlatse Mahlase, 083 399 2852
Sanef Secretary – Reggy Moalusi – 071 682 3695