Thabo Mbeki Foundation weighs in on Sanef's media ethics probe

2019-06-27 16:52


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Former president Thabo Mbeki's foundation has welcomed, and congratulated, the South African National Editors' Forum's (Sanef) decision to launch an inquiry into media ethics.

Sanef, during its announcement on Monday, said it had noted and was worried about the erosion of public trust and decline of editorial independence along with the impact of the fake news and misinformation era.

It also raised concern over some journalists backing certain political factions and how this tainted the entire industry.

READ: Sanef launches inquiry into media ethics

Sanef said its inquiry would be headed by retired judge Kathleen Satchwell, and would include panellists Nikiwe Bikitsha and Rich Mkhondo.

The panel is expected to interview media ethics experts and academics, as well as media owners, editors, journalists, members of the public and interested parties including civil society stakeholders, political parties, government departments and business organisations, among others

"A reflection on the media and how it goes about discharging its stated objectives and responsibilities is an undertaking of vital national importance," read a statement from Mbeki's office.

It called on media practitioners in the country to treat the inquiry with the seriousness and attention it deserved.

"We trust that media practitioners and non-practitioners alike will approach the task placed before the inquiry with the requisite honesty and constructive attitude required to advance the profession and the country; avoiding ambiguities and closure of ranks on the one hand, and hyperboles and counter-productive polemics on the other."

Sanef said the inquiry would not target individual journalists and the inquiry sought to enhance ethical journalism principles.

"Sanef does not seek to apportion blame or culpability on the part of individual journalists or media entities, but seeks to  strengthen adherence to ethical codes and practices within the media industry, enhance public confidence in the practice of journalism in this country and secure the role of accountable, trustworthy, informative media free from manipulation by partisan or secret interests in this developing democracy," its statement read. 

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