SANEF launches inquiry into integrity of SA newspapers

SANEF launches inquiry into integrity of SA newspapers
FILE: In the distant horizon lies the prospect of finding the real truth about the goings on inside South Africa's Newsrooms. PICTURE BY Sowetan

The commission was launched to investigate where there had been a breach of media ethics, following the issue of the Sunday Times apologising for stories it wrote and as a result, partying ways with some of its journalists.

The South African National Editors’ Forum (Sanef) has called on all interested organisations or individuals to make written submissions to its inquiry into the integrity of South African newspapers. 

The panelists will analyse the submissions made and “if they feel it is necessary” those who made the submissions will be called in order to make further submissions, either orally or in writing. 

It is chaired by retired Judge Kathleen Satchwell. The launch of the Satchwell commission was triggered by several apologies made by the Sunday Times correcting mistakes over stories such as the ‘Rogue Unit’ and the ‘Cato Manor Death Squad’, said SANEF. 

“Further allegations were made at the Zondo Commission by security and prison services company Bosasa that they had paid journalists to cover the company in a positive light,” SANEF said. 

Others who will help Judge Satchwell get to the bottom of the media issue in South Africa are Nikiwe Bikitsha and Rich Mkhondo.

The commission is tasked with investigating “issues of editorial integrity” across the media industry and then “rebuilding and regaining the public trust”.

“We stated that we saw this as a moment for the newspapers – but also for all media houses – to seriously introspect and review editorial systems and practices to enhance media ethics and credibility,” SANEF said. 

SANEF said the media industry was not immune from being drawn into manipulative practices and collusions.

It was launched on 24 June 2019 and its conclusive recommendations will be presented during a media industry conference for discussion in June 2020 and an industry-wide action plan would be adopted. 

Submissions should be emailed to before 30 November 2019. 

(edited by MLM) 

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