Sunday Times editor defends journos

Ray Hartley has asked police to substantiate claims that his reporters were paid to write stories.

Sunday Times Editor Ray Hartley and reporter Mzilikazi Wa Afrika. Picture: EWN

JOHANNESBURG - _Sunday Times _editor Ray Hartley on Thursday defended his journalists and challenged the police to substantiate allegations that his reporters were paid money to write stories.

The claim is contained in an explosive report written by Colonel Kobus Roelofse.

In the document, he details interference in the investigation into controversial policeman Richard Mdluli.

The report formed part of Freedom Under Law (FUL)'s court application to stop Mdluli from acting as a cop.

Hartley said the allegations against his journalists are unsubstantiated.

He said this is yet another attack on the integrity of the newspaper's multiple award-winning investigating team.

The article in question, published in October 2011, exposed the illegal rendition of Zimbabweans who were brutally murdered.

Hartley said the newspaper is proud of this story as it remained the subject of an official investigation.

He called on the Roelofse to provide evidence that proves journalists received payments from police.

The editor said Sunday Times will take the harshest possible action against the reporters if proof is provided.

If no evidence is produced, then the acting commissioner must withdraw the allegation from the public domain, Hartley said.