#StateCapture: Sanef concerned over Zondo's criticism of the media for publishing leaked affidavit

2019-01-22 22:13
Chairperson of the Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo. (Alon Skuy/Gallo)

Chairperson of the Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo. (Alon Skuy/Gallo)

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The South African National Editors’ Forum (Sanef) says it is concerned by the Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo's criticism of the media's work. 

Zondo criticised the media on Tuesday for publishing testimony that had not been publicly presented before the state capture inquiry yet. 

He said the journalists who published the information were serving their own interest after former Bosasa chief operations officer Angelo Agrizzi's affidavit was leaked and published in Sunday papers. Agrizzi is currently testifying in front of the commission, which Zondo chairs.

Sanef said in a statement on Tuesday it was never consulted on the commission’s regulations and had been seeking to meet with the commission to discuss such issues at the start of proceedings.

“When they were first distributed last year, we immediately made contact with the commission and telephonically outlined our objections,” it said in a statement.

The forum said a meeting that was planned for the first day of the inquiry never went ahead despite representatives from Sanef availing themselves.

“When Judge Zondo made similar statements lambasting the media for reporting on evidence yet to be publicly presented to the commission in November 2018, we again wrote to the Secretariat asking for a meeting. Unfortunately the meeting never took place,” the statement read.

Sanef said it was therefore reiterating to have a meeting with the Commission.

ALSO READ: ANC echoes Deputy Chief Justice Zondo's warnings to the media

It said it believed that in principle, the media and the public had the right to access documents submitted to the Commission and that the media also had the right to publish such documents.

“The rights of the media and the public are protected by Section 16 of the Constitution and the related principle of open justice.

We believe the media play a critical role in protecting and promoting the public’s right to receive information. Further, we believe the proceedings of this Commission are of extraordinary public importance,” Sanef said.

The forum further stated that it believed that certain regulations of the commission be reviewed – in particular regulations 11(3) and 12(2) (c).

“We believe that these regulations criminalise journalism and we have raised this issue with the Commission.  We were under the impression that following our engagement the regulations were under review and we would be consulted on a way forward,” it added.

Read more on:    sanef  |  angelo agrizzi  |  media  |  state capture inquiry
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