Esteemed journalist Pippa Green has been appointed by the South African Press Council as the new press ombud.
Green will take over from Johan Retief who resigned last year after more than nine years in office.
Following the announcement, Green told the Mail & Guardian that she is “daunted by the task” ahead of her but looks forward to helping ensure that media ethics and press freedom are upheld.
“I am also humbled and quite overwhelmed by the support I have received, particularly from journalists and members of the media,” she said.
Green will only commence her term on April 1 and in the meanwhile she will be wrapping up her duties at the University of Cape Town, where for the past five years she has worked at the Research Project on Employment, Income Distribution and Inclusive Growth, based in the School of Economics.
She holds an MSc in journalism from New York’s Columbia University. Green has held senior editorial positions in both print and broadcast media and has also worked as a trainer and part-time news editor for EyeWitness News and was a member of the SABC board between 2010 and 2013.
Director of the Press Council Latiefa Mobara said: “Pippa is a highly respected journalist and academic with a strong commitment to media freedom and freedom of expression.”
“We look forward to working with her at the Press Council to ensure that we maintain the highest standard of journalism ethics in the industry, as we work towards building the credibility of our mediation and adjudication processes,” Mobara told the M&G.
According to a statement from from the South African National Editors’ Forum, Green’s appointment has been welcomed by the three retired judges associated with the Press Council, including Yvonne Mokgoro, Phillip Levinsohn and Bernard Ngoepe.
“The panel believes that as a respected media professional, Ms Green’s extensive news media and academic experience, her commitment to freedom of expression, media ethics and journalistic standards as well as her high profile in the industry will maintain the confidence of both the industry and the public in the credibility and authority of the Press Ombud,” Mokgoro, who served as chairperson of the appointment panel, reportedly said.
Chairperson of the council, Phillip Levinsohn, said Green is “eminently qualified” for the job. While Ngoepe said her industry experience “will inspire even more confidence in the institution and strengthen it even further”.