Press release from the Public Protector, call on media to stop publishing leaked reports. Have to temper my reaction to it. Will have a think and write a response later. For now, here’s the statement, unedited.
Date: Sunday, 17 July 2011
Embargo: For immediate release
Subject: Call on the media to stop publishing Public Protector’s provisional reports
Public Protector Adv Thuli Madonsela has noted with disappointment an article in today’s edition of the Sunday Times newspaper, revealing confidential information purported to be based on a provisional report by her office.
This is the second time in less than a month that the newspaper in question publishes information contained in a confidential report. Last month the newspaper revealed details of another provisional report relating to an official investigation.
The Public Protector is saddened that the leaking and publishing of confidential information relating to her ongoing investigations is becoming a trend despite previous appeals to the media not to publish such details. The Public Protector therefore condemns in the strongest of terms the conduct of the newspaper concerned.
In addition to a planned meeting with the South African National Editors’ Forum, an urgent meeting with the Sunday Times will be sought with a view to establish why the newspaper continues to act unethically and in breach of the law.
Section 7(2) of the Public Protector Act 23 of 1994 outlaws the disclosure of the contents of documents such as provisional reports as such documents are part of investigations and therefore not for public consumption.
The Public Protector would like to reiterate that the publishing of leaked provisional reports undermines justice, fairness and the integrity of her investigations. It also has the potential to strain relations between her office and some of its stakeholders, some of whom are at times the subject of investigations.
The Public Protector would like to appeal other media houses not to publish details of the document in question.
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