The South African National Editors' Forum (Sanef) and The Loerie Awards have issued a joint statement today, 5 September 2012. This follows a meeting earlier this week regarding the terms and conditions of media accreditation and access to the annual Loeries.
The statement in full:
A South African National Editors' Forum delegation met on Monday, 3 September 2012, with the organisers of the brand communication industry's prestigious annual Loerie Awards to discuss concerns that terms and conditions of media accreditation and access to the event were in conflict with the Constitutional principle of freedom of the press and the public's right to information.
The Loerie Awards organisers were represented by chairperson Boniswa Pezisa and CEO Andrew Human, while the Sanef delegation was led by Media Freedom sub-committee chairperson Mpumelelo Mkhabela.
Both sides welcomed as constructive the opportunity to discuss the various issues directly and to gain insights into each other's positions. It was agreed that important common ground had been found and that The Loerie Awards organisers had no intention of limiting or dictating independent news coverage, and The Loerie Awards at no time "banned" any media representatives.
While it was too late to make any major changes to the structures put in place for this year's Loeries, as these were less than a fortnight away, it was agreed in principle that the media accreditation procedure would be revised from 2013 onwards, and in partnership with Sanef. A draft set of terms and conditions was tabled and accepted as a starting point for refinement to be ready for 2013.
Both the Sanef and the Loeries delegations agreed that the core issue was mutual agreement of unfettered access to coverage by general news media reporters. Sanef has no intention of speaking for any media organisation which has opted for various forms of contractual, commercialised agreements recognising them as "media partners" or "sponsors" of The Loerie Awards.
"After discussion with Sanef, we recognise the need to accommodate editorial journalists separately from writers of special contracted features and media partners within our media accreditation procedures. Most importantly, we want to ensure that media freedom is in no way curtailed through our accreditation procedures and value the input of Sanef," said Pezisa.
Said Mkhabela: "Sanef had previously held such fruitful discussions with sporting bodies. We look forward to the finalisation of the new accreditation agreement for the Loerie Awards."
In the meantime, The Loerie Awards organisers undertook to take all reasonably possible steps at short notice to accommodate bone fide editorial journalists who may not yet have been able to obtain unrestricted media accreditation to this month's awards ceremonies and related open events.
The delegations agreed to meet again soon to finalise the media accreditation framework for future awards.
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