The Democratic Alliance is pleased with the constructive engagement we have had with the Mail & Guardian since the publishing of a story on January 29, which is corrected in this edition. The story and the front-page headline were totally without basis in fact and were in breach of several aspects of the Press Code.
To their credit, the M&G editorial team has accepted this, and has committed to figuring out how such a story slipped through the normal editorial checks and balances, and will endeavour to prevent a repeat of this in future.
The M&G has a proud track record of path-leading journalism, and it is not in the interests of a vibrant democracy and a free press to have the M&G suffer critical damage to its credibility. The DA wants to see a competitive, healthy media environment in South Africa. Journalists must speak truth to power and expose information in the public interest. But they must do this on the basis of fact – not rumour and speculation.
As a political party, we do not shy away from scrutiny, but we will also stand up to abuses and failures of media ethics when we see them. This matter will also be instructive for other media outlets that frequently rely solely on a tiny handful of anonymous sources, without any serious effort to establish the veracity of rumours.
Once again, we appreciate the constructive engagement with the M&G on this matter.