Browsing through the last edition of the Sunday Times, one full page advert stood out. It was for the Press Council of South Africa which is calling for applications or nominations from public representatives for its Council and Panel of Adjudication.
In order to increase the transparency and fairness of its work, public representatives combine with media representatives on these two bodies. Eight public representatives will sit on the Council – which is chaired by a retired judge – alongside eight media representatives, while 10 public representatives will join eight media representatives in the Panel of Adjudication pool. The Press Ombudsman or the Chair of Appeals selects from this pool when they are adjudicating public, ethical journalism complaints against media practitioners.
Values the public representatives must hold
According to the advert, “successful applicants will be of high standing and integrity, with a strong interest in the media, subscribe fully to the principles of free media and the Code of ethics and conduct for South African print and online media and shall act in the furtherance of the aims and objectives of the Press Council”.
Certain individuals not eligible
Certain individuals may not apply for these public representative positions, based on a number of criteria. These include:
- No person employed by the media can apply
- Applicants must be citizens of and permanent residents in South Africa
- Applicants must be at least 21-years-old
- Applicants must be committed to the values underpinning the South African Constitution, as well as the code of ethics and conduct for South African print and online media
The advert adds, “Any person who has a financial interest in the media, occupies a seat in a local, provincial or national legislative body or is an office-bearer of a political party or movement or is in the employ of the public service is not eligible.”
This is clearly to counter a conflict of interest that may arise or to ensure bias does not creep in to the Press Council’s work.
A nomination must be accompanied by a letter from the nominee accepting the nomination. These part-time positions are for a renewable term of five years.
Objectives of the Press Council
This media body promotes and develops ethical practice in journalism and oversees the adoption and adherence to those standards by media practitioners, both in print and online.
The closing date for applications is close of business on 5 May 2017. Applications and nominations can be sent to Millicent Gumede on firstname.lastname@example.org or dropped off/sent to: Press Council, Burnside Office Park, Building no 8, 410 Jan Smuts Avenue, Craighall Park. Click on the link more information about the Press Council.
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