Editorial: On media transparency

 

 

In late 2017 a New York-based nonprofit organisation, the Media Development Investment Fund (MDIF), became the majority shareholder in M&G Media, which owns the Mail & Guardian. The final legalities of the deal will be concluded in the next few weeks.

The MDIF is a global media investment fund with stakes in more than 100 independent publications in the Global South.

Its objective is to provide “affordable debt and equity financing to independent media in a range of countries where access to free and independent news and information is under threat”.

Investors in the MDIF are listed on its website.

In the new ownership structure, other major shareholders include M&G Media chief executive Hoosain Karjieker and the staff share trust.

A core value of a free media is transparency and accountability. This is what we demand of the governments, corporations and people that we report on; we believe that, in return, media organisations themselves have a responsibility to be transparent and accountable.

In the age of fake news and disinformation, the need for transparency has never been greater. We believe that M&G readers and staff have a right to know who owns this newspaper and how it is funded.

On the other hand, serious questions must be asked about media organisations that refuse to disclose this information.

That is why we ensure that information about the M&G’s ownership and funding structure is publicly available. It is also why we are making a point of sharing this information with our readers.

PW Botha wagged his finger and banned us in 1988 but we stood firm. We built a reputation for fearless journalism, then, and now. Through these last 35 years, the Mail & Guardian has always been on the right side of history.

These days, we are on the trail of the merry band of corporates and politicians robbing South Africa of its own potential.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.

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