Sanef condemns spying on journalists


By Patience Shawarira

The South African National Editors Forum (Sanef), council concluded its meeting at the 31 August- 1 September 2017 Highway Africa – SACOMM (the South African Communication Association)conference at Rhodes University in Grahamstown with a robust condemnation recent attacks on journalists in South Africa, and rest of the continent.

According to a press statement released after its council meeting on 1 September, Information Regulator, Pansy Tlakula and Sanef Member Sizwe Snail ka Mtuze, briefed members on the implications of POPIA (the Protection of the Personal Information Act), to South African journalists.

“[Tlakula] pointed out that while there are exceptions in the Act related to use of personal information for journalistic purposes and a public interest override that the media will still need to make sure they comply with sections of the law,” said the press statement.

“In this regard, the media needs to make sure that their codes of conduct, including the Press Code, comply with the Act. Sanef and IR will further engage to ensure the media complies with the Act and to draft regulations to the issue in the next few weeks.”

The SA media body eulogised the passing of Mike Green, 87, and Mzimasi Mgebisa, 41. Mgebisa died this week at Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital in Johannesburg after succumbing to kidney failure. Mgebisa worked as both a print and broadcast journalist and started his career at The Star before moving to Sunday Times. He was also known as shrewd soccer analyst with SABC Sport.

Veteran Green was an old-school journalist and the former editor of the Daily News in KwaZulu-Natal, where he was frequently harassed under the oppressive apartheid media laws and restrictions. He worked as a journalist for about 45 years, and then carried on writing after he retired. Green hoped to study music and eventually studied after receiving a Nieman fellowship in journalism at Harvard University.

Sanef’s Grahamstown meeting was the latest in several gathering that have taken place in Grahamstown over the years, and represents its strong partnership with Highway Africa. The meeting discussed a number of issues that pose a threat to media freedom, including the growing incidents of journalist intimidation and illegal surveillance, where editors were followed and even photographed while on private business.

  • Patience Shawarira was reporting for Open Source, the publication for Highway Africa
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