News24

Group worried by corruption in media

2010-07-07 17:16

Cape Town - Recent claims of reporters taking payments to write stories could be an indication of deeper corruption in the media, an Eastern Cape journalists' organisation said on Wednesday.

The Mandela Bay Media Association was commenting on a confession by former Cape Argus political reporter Ashley Smith that he and a colleague took money to write favourable reports about then-premier Ebrahim Rasool.

The association, which counts local radio and print journalists among its members, said that if this was true, journalism practitioners should ask themselves very hard questions about ethics and the integrity of the profession.

"The Media Association suspects also that there are entrenched and widespread corrupt schemes within the South African media which have their origin in the apartheid past," it said in a statement.

"(These) could be sustained into the present dispensation by some powerful groups for the profession and journalism to fail in its sacred duty to promote truth, help in fighting corruption and abuse of power and protect media freedom and freedom of expression."

It said the Rasool affair should perhaps serve as the impetus for an independent investigation into "these incidents of unethical behaviour and several others that tarnish the image of journalism".