South Africa News

Sanef urges journalists to practice ethical journalism when reporting on COVID-19

The South African National Editors’ Forum (Sanef) has called on the media to practice ethical journalism when covering COVID-19 outbreak. Sanef held a workshop in Durban under the theme “Ethics, Journalism and safety in the digital age” in Durban.

It says it is important that journalists maintain the doctor-patient confidentiality when reporting on the coronavirus. This means not disclosing a person’s identity without their permission, as has happened on social media. The seminar was aimed at reinforcing the mandate of maintaining ethical journalism, and the safety and integrity of editors and reporters.

Reminding all – Coronavirus positive patients still had a constitutional right to remain anonymous despite the national interest. Sanef Media Freedom Chairperson, Mary Papayya says journalists must conduct research and only rely on experts when reporting on the virus.

“For instance, around the coronavirus, people want to know the names of the infected. From that perspective, issues around doctor-patient confidentiality have to maintained and what’s important is for the journalist to understand and go out there and research as much as they can around the disease. One must understand that ethics are important to build public trust. We’ve seen the transgression from recent years around certain stories that were questionable when those kinds of transgressions happen. The public trust in the media drops considerably.


The coverage of coronavirus, embedded journalism, self-censorship, Cyberbullying and political interference in the newsroom are some of the topics discussed.

The workshop created a platform for journalists to engage and share their experiences in the field.  Sanef also condemned the violent and hostile attacks on the media which included cyberbullying. Sanef KZN Convenor Judy Sandison speaks about Twitter is now being used to target reporters. She has cautioned media practitioners not to get into cyber wars.

The media lobby group has also established THE SATCHWELL inquiry. An independent inquiry into media credibility and ethics for recommendations and formal complaints.

The inquiry was triggered by accusations that some journalists were taking bribes. Sanef believes the inquiry will also help restore the faith in the public with regards to media practitioners and the moral fibre within the media fraternity.

In other news – Zoleka Mandela leaves her eight years Man – I need to learn to be alone

What a very brave decision she has come up with! Zoleka Mandela has revealed that she has left the father of her two kids, Thierry Bashala whom she affectionately called Mr Bashala.

Zoleka Mandela

She said in an Instagram post: “Leaving someone you once loved, for eight long years feels like it completely unhinges your entire life until you realize that it’s sparked self-discovery, inner peace and has set you on a path of self-love. Read more

Source: sabcnews