The SA National Editors' Forum at its national council meeting noted and condemned the utterances of journalists expressing preference to cover certain political parties and not others, according to a media release.

At its Council meeting in Durban today, Monday, 1 December, 2008, SANEF said it wishes to place on record that journalists are expected to adhere to the press code that commits all journalists to report objectively without fear or favour.

In the run-up to the election, SANEF wants to assure the South African public that the media will uphold the professional values and codes of conduct that prevail in our industry. SANEF also appeals to political parties to allow journalists to do their jobs freely in the run-up to elections, especially as the electioneering atmosphere and campaigns gain momentum.

SANEF Council heard a report from Press Ombudsman Joe Thloloe and took note that the press ombudsman system of self regulation is serving its intended purpose to hold media accountable. The press ombudsman gave an overview of the strengthening of the staff complement and other infrastructure in his office in a report tabled at the meeting.

Council also noted that there is increasing public awareness of the ombudsman system – which is regarded as being on the continent as the most suitable structure of dealing with the public’s complaints into the conduct of print media.

Council also noted that the ombudsman reported that all his rulings were published in accordance with his instructions – some of which appeared in prominent positions in several publications.

Keynote speaker at the SANEF council dinner on Sunday, 31 November, 2008, was KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Economic Affairs and Development Dr Zweli Mkhize. Dr Mkhize is also Chairperson of the ANC in the region. SANEF notes the frank and open discussion held with Dr. Mkhize on the role of media, and the need for future and ongoing dialogue with media and the ANC.

Issued by: SA National Editors' Forum (SANEF)

For further comment, please contact:

Mary Papayya – SANEF Secretary-General: 082 379 4957
Khathu Mamaila – SANEF Media Freedom Chairperson: 083 274 3941