30 October 2010

South Africa: SANEF Supports Sunday Independent After Court Ruling

Johannesburg — The SA National Editors' Forum, Sanef, on Saturday expressed its support for the Sunday Independent after a court order was granted to stop the newspaper from publishing information on appointments in the crime intelligence division.

"Sanef supports the Sunday Independent in its courageous reportage that serves the public interest by exposing malfeasance and corruption in the public service," the forum said in a statement.

The North Gauteng High Court granted an interdict late on Friday night, preventing the newspaper from publishing, on Sunday, information regarding alleged nepotism in appointments in the police division.

Sanef said it was shocked and alarmed by the fact that the interdict was granted without the newspaper's editor and legal team being present in court.

They were allegedly stuck in traffic and arrived at the court minutes after the interdict had been granted.

"A disconcerting aspect of the proceedings is the fact that there appears to have been an element of miscommunication between the lawyers representing the parties which resulted in the paper's lawyers having to travel to Pretoria after the police lawyers had arrived at court," Sanef said.

The newspaper had indicated that it would appeal the interdict to a higher court.

On Friday night, shortly after the interdict was granted, the National Press Club called it a "travesty of justice".

Judge Ephriam Makgoba ruled that Independent Newspapers could not publish any information pertaining to the advertisement and appointment of any individual within the crime intelligence division.

Independent Newspapers was also ordered to immediately hand over any information or documentation about appointments to the SAPS.

The newspaper was also ordered to pay the costs of two counsels.

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