Independent Media condemns SANEF’s hypocrisy on former Daily Maverick contributor’s allegations

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People in glass houses should not throw stones and that is the case with the South African National Editors Forum (SANEF) whose Executive Director, Kate Skinner, was interviewed on Power 987 radio, on Monday, 09 March 2020.

Skinner, and SANEF, have criticised Independent Media for running a ‘one source’ story on its channels. That story, titled ‘Daily Maverick asked me to write and do negative tweets about Dr Iqbal Survé’, concerned the Daily Maverick (DM) allegedly paying contributors to write negative articles about certain persons. Those persons include Dr Dan Matjila, former CEO of the Public Investment Corporation; Julius Malema, Commander-in-Chief of the EFF; and Dr Iqbal Survé, Chairman of Independent Media and Sekunjalo Investment Holdings. This was over a period in 2019.
 
In the interview on Power Talk with Aldrin Sampear, Skinner was asked whether she had contacted Independent Media or the young student, who had made the initial public announcement that he had been paid by DM to research and write negative material. Skinner (SANEF) had not.
Skinner (SANEF) only approached the Daily Maverick for comment and a response.
DM is only one source in this matter.
Had SANEF contacted Independent or Mr Modiba (the contributor), they would have confirmed that Mr Mdluli (the Independent Media journalist) had conducted his research appropriately and had been in direct contact with Mr Modiba, who also shared other information with him, all of which led Mr Mdluli to write the story.
 
Mr Mdluli also sent a series of questions to the Daily Maverick’s editor-in-chief, with enough time for a response, which was included in the article. That both parties in the story were approached and represented in the article clearly shows that there was more than one source. SANEF’s claims to the contrary are therefore misleading.
 
Additionally, an independent political analyst was also approached for comment, which was included in the story.
 
While Independent Media does not belong to SANEF or to the Press Council, Independent Media does most certainly uphold the values and ethics of journalism in South Africa. Independent Media is committed to protecting the sanctity of freedom of the press in South Africa, which was won at a very high cost for all South Africans. Independent Media will not be deterred or distracted from protecting this freedom.
 
It is, therefore, highly disingenuous and hypocritical of SANEF to take this position on this story.
 
It should also be noted that SANEF’s position on this matter threatens the very tenets of SANEF’s own code of conduct.
As such, Independent Media condemns SANEF’s biased positioning and hypocrisy on this matter and calls for a public apology and retraction.