Sanef welcomes Minister Lamola’s promise to protect whistleblowers

The South African National Editor’s Forum (Sanef) has expressed satisfaction over the government’s intervention in the protection of whistleblowers, political weaponization and journalist’s access to courts.

Addressing the Sanef council in Cape Town on Saturday, Lamola said the government is working to close loopholes in the protection of whistleblowers legislation, political weaponization where journalists are used for political bidding, and access to courts.

Lamola assured the council that the government will amend the relevant legislation to ensure that all government departments, institutions and agencies fully comprehend their responsibilities in protecting whistleblowers as stipulated in the Protected Disclosure Act.

“We are working hard to tighten laws to protect whistleblowers, we are confident that the media will be important partners in this process. We need to work together to ensure that the government and companies implicated by whistle-blowers are held accountable. The media can also continue exposing those who victimise good citizens who blow the whistle on corrupt and unethical practices,” said Lamola.

Sanef has hailed the government’s intervention saying that it would benefit journalists greatly, especially those whose sources are whistleblowers that want to reveal the truth.

“Sanef welcomes the Department of Justice’s promised plan to close loopholes in the protection of whistle-blowers, a move that will enhance the fundamental principles of protecting sources of journalists,” said Sanef.

The forum said it is planning to debates and a state of the media summit to address the challenges facing journalists and the sensitive topics on the credibility of the media ahead of the 2024 elections.

“SANEF also noted the minister’s concerns including what he called ‘the political weaponisation’ of newsrooms where journalists volunteered their ‘professional skills and platforms to do the bidding of politicians, captains of industry and lobby groups’.

“SANEF welcomes the undertaking by Lamola that he will engage those in charge of managing our courts as there has been an increase in denying journalists access, or entry into court buildings. This has become an increasing problem across lower and high courts,” said the forum.

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