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Sanef welcomes report on challenges facing SA journalism

Between July 2019 and March 2020, the three-person panel consulted 167 individuals and entities, and perused close to 200 documents.

Sanef logo. Picture: Sanef website.

CAPE TOWN - The South African National Editors' Forum (Sanef) on Monday welcomed a report on media ethics and credibility.

The report was compiled by a panel, led by retired Judge Kathleen Satchwell.

The report deals with challenges facing South African journalism.

It was officially handed it over to Sanef on Monday after being commissioned in June 2019.

The inquiry was set up following the events surrounding the publication and subsequent retraction of a series of stories by the Sunday Times between 2011 and 2016 and public debates about reporting and processes followed in newsrooms countrywide.

Between July 2019 and March 2020, the three-person panel consulted 167 individuals and entities and perused close to 200 documents.

Panellist, journalist Nikiwe Bikitsha, said that 69 recommendations had been made.

She said that on media freedom, the panel recommended that Sanef collaborates with other media entities and human rights organisations.

This is to publicise the importance of an independent, diverse and vital media industry.

Bikitsha said that they had also recommended that a strong stance be taken against media organisations who committed ethical breaches.

“Sanef should reopen consideration of sanctionsor fines or suspensions from media organisations for journalists who commit ethical breaches since it was felt and found by many of those who came before us that the current Press Council requirements are very limited restorative justice to the aggrieved or harmed members of the public.”

She said that the panel also found that the public purse should play a greater role in funding the media.

“Can we direct our attentions now to the Department of Communications and Treasury who we recommend should engage with the media industry at large to seek financial solutions to the precarious situation many media players now find themselves in, so as to strengthen various sectors of the media and this should not be limited to the SABC.”

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