Court rules on protecting media sources

2012-08-24 10:12

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Johannesburg - Facility management company Bosasa has been denied leave to appeal a judgment that allowed the Mail&Guardian the right to protect its sources, the weekly reported on Friday.

On Thursday, Judge Moroa Tsoka said he was of the view that no other court would come to a different conclusion to his original ruling.

In April, Tsoka ruled that in order for the media to carry out its democratic function, which includes revealing corruption, protecting the anonymity of sources was crucial.

"It is essential that, in carrying this public duty for the public good, the identity of their sources should not be revealed," Tsoka said at the time.

"This essential and critical role of the media, which is more pronounced in our nascent democracy founded on openness, where corruption has become cancerous, needs to be fostered rather than denuded."

The newspaper published an article in 2009 which described "the corrupt relationship between Bosasa and the department of correctional services".

According to the article, the relationship resulted in the company winning a number of multimillion-rand tenders from the department.

Bosasa is suing the M&G and its former investigative reporter Adriaan Basson for defamation and demanded that they provide unredacted versions of documentary evidence.

M&G editor Nic Dawes welcomed the judgement saying Tsoka's original finding was an important precedent on protecting sources.

"There can be no investigative journalism without the brave people who blow the whistle and we must be able to keep confidential their identities," he said.

Bosasa still has the option to petition to the Supreme Court of Appeal for permission to appeal.

- SAPA

Read more on:    mail and guardian  |  nic dawes  |  media
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