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.

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These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

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