The South African National Editors Forum (Sanef) has noted the conclusion of an investigation into alleged ethical breaches at City Press newspaper but has issued a statement expressing its disappointment in Media24’s failure to officially release the report into its probe.
When the claims first surfaced, Sanef released a media statement saying: “We are encouraged by (Media24 CEO, Ishmet) Davidson’s avowed commitment to ensure a speedy investigation. Sanef further calls on the company to be transparent about the outcome of the investigation once it is concluded.”
Sanef stated that, as an industry body with vested interests in the adherence to ethics, it believed it was necessary for Media24 to be transparent. Sanef stated it needed to know the basis and the outcome of the investigation as was the case with other media houses that previously experienced similar challenges.
Media24 only released a statement following the completion of the internal investigation without the report quoting its chief executive, Ishmet Davidson, saying “The outcome of the investigation, led by an independent team of a very senior editorial manager and a forensic investigator, do not warrant further action.”
The two reporters were cleared of any wrongdoing. One of the reporters was reinstated and another’s resignation letter was accepted.
Sanef said it was approached by the two reporters, appealing that the organisation intervenes to get Media24 to release the report. The two reporters said they had also not been given the report, despite them having been the subjects of the investigation.
Sanef’s efforts to appeal to the company to release the details were reportedly unsuccessful. The company rejected Sanef’s request to share the report – even with the two reporters who were initially implicated – saying that they were doing so to honour confidentiality and protect the privacy of its employees.
Sanef believes in the fundamental principle of transparency and that if the company will not publicly share the report, then at the very least the two colleagues deserve closure. Sanef said they deserve the report.