Sapa's end a blow to press freedom - press club

2015-02-06 18:12
(File: Sapa)

(File: Sapa)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Johannesburg - The imminent closure of the SA Press Association (Sapa) is a blow to press freedom, the Cape Town Press Club said on Friday.

"The news that the South African Press Association will be wrapping up its operations and be closing down at the end of March is bad news for the entire country and a blow to press freedom," co-chairperson Donwald Pressly and Brent Meersman said in a statement.

"Sapa reporters have on so many occasions been in the right place, at the right time, and delivered the level of quality reporting that was so sorely needed by other media outlets."

They said Sapa's contribution to social discourse in South Africa could never be over-estimated, and that its closure would mean the loss of at least 40 journalism jobs.

Considering that the major media houses were also cutting jobs, this placed the future of journalism in South Africa in jeopardy.

"The closing down of a domestic news wire service means that South Africa now becomes beholden to international news wires for news not only of itself, but of its neighbours and around the world," Pressly and Meersman said.

"We lament the closure of a credible source that acted not only independent of government, but also free from the biases of any single, powerful media owner."

The Cape Town Press Club paid tribute to the fearless Sapa reporters who had served news journalism with dedication for the past 70 years.

Non-profit company

On Thursday, Sapa's board said the agency would issue its last story at midnight on 31 March.

"After the disposal of the assets the company will be liquidated and its operations will cease on 31 March 2015," chairperson Minette Ferreira said in a statement.

Since Sapa, which has been in existence since 1938, was a special category non-profit company, it could not be sold off.

Ferreira said Sapa's board of directors met last week and confirmed that the decision, taken last September and by the members' AGM on 27 November 2014, to wind up the news agency as a non-profit company, had to be implemented.

The board appointed Nkonki Incorporated, an independent firm of auditors and financial advisers, to help Sapa close shop.

The board said three parties, Gallo Images, KMM Review Publishers, and Sekunjalo Investments Holdings, had expressed an interest in setting up an operation on similar lines as Sapa.

"In the period since September, the parties had each presented their proposals for the establishment of a commercially based content-generating and syndication service business and at last week's meeting provided updates on their original proposals," the board said.

"Nkonki is evaluating these proposals. The board, through Nkonki, has now entered a process of calling for bids for the assets of Sapa."

Ferreira said the board intended "ensuring the interests of all Sapa employees were correctly and meticulously attended to.

"In addition, current subscribers would in due course be briefed on the plans and would be approached directly by the operators of the new syndication business," she said.


Read more on:    sapa  |  cape town press club  |  cape town  |  media

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Financial advisors – Do you need one and should you get one?

The good, the bad, and everything else you need to know when considering hiring a financial advisor.


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.