The South African National Editors’ Forum (Sanef) mourns the passing of Justice Arthur Chaskalson, a great South African and an untiring champion of an open democratic society.
As the media fraternity we will particularly remember Justice Chaskalson for striving to ensure that the courts were open and friendly to the public and the media. In this regard he opened the Constitutional Court for live coverage of judgments and later for full hearings. He also arranged for summarised judgments to be available for the media, thus making it possible for journalists to transmit complex rulings to the public speedily and accurately.
During his tenure as Chief Justice, the full bench of the Constitutional Court held regular meetings with editors, which gave media leaders a greater understanding of the work of the highest court and an appreciation of constitutionalism. Justice Chaskalson’s commitment to openness of the judicial system set an example for the other levels of courts, which now allow regular live coverage of hearings and judgments.
Sanef salutes Justice Chaskalson for his visionary leadership, his unwavering quest for a just and open society and for his role in the construction of a values-based constitutional democracy.
Issued by the SA National Editors’ Forum (SANEF)
02 December 2012