Sanef 'disappointed' after journo who covered elections becomes councillor
- Freelance journalist Edwin Ntshidi has been making headlines for all the wrong reasons
- The former Eyewitness News (EWN) reporter has been appointed as an ActionSA PR councillor just weeks after extensively reporting on the municipal elections
- Editors' forum Sanef says he did not disclose his political ambitions to EWN, his former employer
The South African National Editors' Forum (Sanef) has expressed its disappointment and concern after a local journalist who covered the recent municipal elections took up a seat as councillor in Joburg.
Freelance journalist Edwin Ntshidi was sworn in as an ActionSA proportional representative (PR) councillor for the City of Johannesburg on Monday.
Before taking political office, he spent weeks reporting on the local government elections for Eyewitness News (EWN), despite standing as a PR candidate for ActionSA.
According to Sanef, Ntshidi never disclosed to EWN his political ambitions.
The editors' forum released a statement on Thursday afternoon reminding journalists about their duty to uphold the Press Code.
On independence and matters relating to conflict of interest, the Press Code clearly states that: “The media shall not allow commercial, political, personal or other non-professional considerations to influence reporting, and avoid conflicts of interest as well as practices that could lead readers to doubt the media’s independence and professionalism.
"While we are happy that he is no longer a reporter, and his association with EWN ceased, we are equally concerned at his conduct and why he agreed to be an Action SA candidate, while he was reporting on politics, including the very same party he now represents", Sanef says in the statement.
The forum has urged journalists to always alert their editors whenever matters of conflict of interests arise, be it political or commercial.
Sanef takes ethical journalism, fair and balanced reporting, and the non-association of journalists with political parties seriously, hence our disappointment at this latest development.Sanef
This development is in contrast with the work the entire media fraternity, Sanef and other stakeholders, have been doing in regaining the lost trust in the media. Journalists are always advised to steer clear of conflict of interest, be trustworthy and do their work with integrity.Sanef
Media entities in South Africa are led by editors who always encourage their journalists to be independent, and practise high standards of journalism which should not be compromised by the lure of political office. Our audiences, in a time we are asking them to trust us again, cannot at this point doubt our political independence.Sanef