Publication: Daily News Issued: Date: 2006-11-23 Reporter: Sapa

Misquoting Shaik Trial Judge Not Deliberate - Editors



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The frequent and widespread misquoting of Schabir Shaik trial judge Hilary Squires was "a most regrettable error", the SA National Editors' Forum (Sanef) said on Tuesday.

"Sanef was of the view, however, that the error was not deliberate and did not indicate any pervasive lack of professionalism," it said in a statement issued after a meeting of its council in Johannesburg on Monday.

Sanef acknowledged that Squires did not use the phrase "generally corrupt relationship" in reference to the interaction between Shaik and axed deputy president Jacob Zuma.

It noted that Squires ruled that a "mutually beneficial symbiosis" existed between the two men. "Sanef urges members to reflect on the incident and to implement measures to ensure it is not repeated."

Urging media trainers to use the experience for training, Sanef endorsed a University of the Witwaters-rand journalism and media studies programme proposal to incorporate the issue in a media and journalism project next year.

Also on the Sanef agenda was the SABC's refusal to release a report on its probe into the blacklisting of analysts.

"Sanef noted reports that disciplinary action is being taken against staff who co-operated with the inquiry. "Sanef will seek discussions with SABC officials and board members," it said.

It expressed concern at an increase in pre-publication interdicts - at least six of which had recently been sought.

In other deliberations, Sanef reaffirmed its opposition to the pressurising of a Cape Town journalist to testify in a defamation action. It supported his refusal on the grounds that testifying would "compromise him as a journalist". 

With acknowledgements to Sapa and Daily News.