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George Claassen | The ‘dead hand of politics’ endangers ethical journalism, independence is vital

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The writer argues that indpendence of newsrooms is vital to ensure ethics are maintained. (Getty Images)
The writer argues that indpendence of newsrooms is vital to ensure ethics are maintained. (Getty Images)

George Claassen writes that the independence of newsrooms and journalists, which is vital in any democratic society and so often ignored by politicians - both the public and private sectors, as well as other powerful roleplayers - is repeatedly highlighted by the panel commissioned by Sanef to look into media ethics.

For the survival of accurate, credible, trustworthy and fair journalism under the onslaught of rumours, conspiracy theories and wild allegations of "fake news", a commitment to and rigorous application of ethical journalism by news organisations has become paramount.

This message occupies centre stage in the report into media ethics and credibility, released earlier this week and commissioned by the South African National Editors’ Forum (Sanef). The inquiry into the ethical issues facing South African journalism, was conducted by a panel headed by retired Judge Kathleen Satchwell, assisted by veteran journalist and author Rich Mkhondo, and award-winning journalist and former Fulbright Hubert H Humphrey Fellow Nikiwe Bikitsha.

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