File picture: Pexels

DURBAN - The South African National Editors' Forum (Sanef) has called on interested organisations and individuals to make written submissions to its inquiry into media ethics and credibility.  

The inquiry was launched by Sanef on June 24, with retired judge Kathleen Satchwell heading the panel of commissioners. The other commissioners are Nikiwe Bikitsha and Rich Mkhondo.

The panelists will analyse submissions and "if they feel it is necessary" will call on members of the public and organisations to make further written and/or oral submissions, said the forum. 

"The launch of the inquiry was triggered by several apologies made by the Sunday Times correcting mistakes over stories such as the so-called 'Rogue Unit' and the 'Cato Manor Death Squad' stories. Further, allegations were made at the Zondo Commission by security and prison services company Bosasa that they had paid journalists to cover the company in a positive light," said Sanef. 

The forum said that while it welcomed the apologies made by the Sunday Times, this was the first step in "rebuilding and regaining the public trust". 

"We stated that we saw this as a moment for the newspaper – but also for all media houses - to seriously introspect and review editorial systems and practices to enhance media ethics and credibility.

"To further supplement and strengthen this process, we announced that we would be launching an independent investigation - chaired by a retired judge, with its own offices and researchers - to investigate issues of editorial integrity across the industry."

The forum said the inquiry was taking place against a broader backdrop of state capture in South Africa, with the media industry not being immune from being drawn into manipulative practices and collusions.

The commission's recommendations would be presented to a media industry conference for discussion in June 2020 and an industry-wide action plan would be adopted. 

 Submissions should be emailed to [email protected] before November 30, 2019. 

African News Agency (ANA)