NEWS & ANALYSIS

Branko Brkic wins Nat Nakasa Award – SANEF

Daily Maverick editor commended for his courageous journalism in breaking and managing the Gupta Leaks story

SANEF CELEBRATES COURAGEOUS JOURNALISM AND ELECTS NEW LEADERSHIP

25 JUNE 2018

The South African National Editors’ Forum (SANEF) held its elective AGM over the weekend and its annual Nat Nakasa courageous journalism awards. 

At its AGM SANEF committed to playing an active role in the lead up to the 2019 elections. This will include supporting and initiating election training across the industry and launching a campaign to protect the safety of journalists. An important component of this campaign will also include promoting the critical role of the media in elections and a campaign against fake news.

SANEF committed to strengthening its diversity and reach by including our regional convenors on our management committee. The organisation also launched a dedicated sub-committee to strengthen support to community media. There is a commitment to recruiting new community media members into the organisation.

Another significant area of SANEF’s work will be around updating training materials for effective court reporting. Last but not least, SANEF will be continuing its work to ensure that all courts in the land are open and accessible to the media. SANEF has embarked on a particular initiative to ensure that magistrates courts are more accessible to journalists. To this end we have already met with the Magistrates Commission.

Nat Nakasa awards

SANEF held its Nat Nakasa courageous journalism awards.

Nat Nakasa was a South African journalist who died in exile in 1965 at the age of 28, after a brief but dynamic career characterised by his journalistic courage and integrity.

The Nat Nakasa Award is celebrated annually by SANEF in recognition of any media practitioner – journalist, editor, manager or owner – who has shown exceptional integrity and courage in their work.

SANEF judge, veteran journalist and ex-Press Ombud, Joe Thloloe stated, “This year we had the largest number of nominations ever and the quality of the entries was outstanding, and it was out of this cream of South Africa journalism that we selected the winner of the Nat Nakasa Award 2018”.

Thloloe acknowledged the committed and ground-breaking work of the entire #GuptaLeaks team - Pauli van Wyk, Lester Freamon, Adriaan Basson, Richard Poplak, Adi Eyal, Micah Reddy, Susan Comrie, Angelique Serrao, Stefaans Brummer, Antoinette Muller, Marianne Thamm, Sam Sole, Tabelo Timse, Pieter-Louis Myburgh, Craig McKune, Lionel Faull, Rebecca Davis and Sally Evans.

He then announced the overall winner as Branko Brkic, editor of the online publication the Daily Maverick.

The judges had this to say about Branko’s fearless leadership:

“A cache of emails – a cache that defined the South African story in the last year – landed on his lap. If he were just another ordinary journalist, he would have heard the words SCOOP! and EXCLUSIVE! dancing in his head. But he was extraordinary and thus did two remarkable things: one, he realised this was not a story his publication could hoard - it belonged to South Africa; and two, he had to protect his sources.

He arranged for the safety of the sources and he put together a team from his own publication, some journalists from the unique South African investigative journalism centre amaBhungane, and from his rivals, Media24, to give us the #GuptaLeaks, the journalism that brought down the Gupta family and their mentor, ex-President Jacob Zuma.”

The judges’ citation follows below.

Sanef elective AGM

In terms of our AGM, SANEF is happy to announce the following people have been elected to take the organisation forward and lead our media industry for the next two years.  We are proud to announce that more than 50% of all leadership posts including chair and deputy chair are female.

Chair – Mahlatse Mahlase

Deputy Chair- Katy Katopodis

Secretary General – Moipone Malefane

Treasurer – Adriaan Basson

Media Freedom Committee Chair – Sam Mkokeli

Education and Training Chair – Tshamano Makhadi

Diversity and Ethics Chair – Glenda Daniels

Digital and Broadcasting Chair – Sheldon Morais and Diane Hawker

Community Media Chair – Chris Louw

KZN Regional Chair – Judy Sandison

Western Cape Chair – Janet Heard

Eastern Cape Chair – Sibusiso Ngalwa

Gauteng Chair – Reggy Moalusi

Other Council members include Angie Kapelianis, Krivani Pillay, Verashni Pillay, Izak Minnaar, Amina Frense, Ray Louw, Mary Papayya, Portia Kobue and Asanda Saul Ngoasheng.

Citation for Nat Nakasa Award winner 2018

Moradisi, Mme Gladys Nakasa, lelapa lotlhe la kwa Nakasa, bomma le borra, bagaetsho,

Ke rumilwe ke baatlhudi ba Nat Nakasa Award ngwaga o, ebong Crystal Orderson, Peter Sullivan, Simphiwe Sesanti, le nna – go baa lefoko.

Ba nthumile gore ke le itsise gore…

The winner of the Nat Nakasa Award this year has fallen a few times in this precarious business of publishing, and each time he got up, brushed away the dust from his knees and hands and continued undeterred, first in his native Yugoslavia and then in this, his adopted home.

In South Africa, before he embarked on his current project, two magazines he edited collapsed. This tenacity alone already put him in line to win this prestigious award.

But in his leadership of his publication in the past year, he set a precedent that the judges can’t ignore…

A cache of emails – a cache that defined the South African story in the last year – landed on his lap. If he were just another ordinary journalist, he would have heard the words SCOOP! and EXCLUSIVE! dancing in his head. But he was extraordinary and thus did two remarkable things: one, he realised this was not a story his publication could hoard - it belonged to South Africa; and two, he had to protect his sources.

He arranged for the safety of the sources and he put together a team from his own publication, some journalists from the unique South African investigative journalism centre AmaBhungane, and from his rivals, Media24, to give us the #GuptaLeaks, the journalism that brought down the Gupta family and their mentor, ex-President Jacob Zuma.

One of the letters supporting his nominations and that of his team stated:

“The work of a brave and courageous bunch of journalists showed how the Guptas were getting massive kickbacks on contracts with parastatals; it exposed how public departments and private entities helped boost the earnings of this elusive family. As a result some journalists faced a virulent social media campaign of "fake news" and denigration, which also spilled over into acts of intimidation.”

The Nat Nakasa Award is recognition of courageous and brave journalism by a media practitioner - journalist, editor, manager or owner - who has:

- Shown integrity and reported fearlessly;

- Displayed a commitment to serve the people of South Africa;

- Tenaciously striven to maintain a publication or other medium despite insurmountable obstacles;

- Resisted any censorship; and

- Shown courage in making information available to the SA public.

This year we had the largest number of nominations ever and the quality of the entries was outstanding, and it was out of this cream of South Africa journalism that we selected the winner of the Nat Nakasa Award 2018.

And in doing so, the judges also acknowledge the committed and groundbreaking work of the entire #GuptaLeaks team - Pauli van Wyk, Lester Freamon, Adriaan Basson, Richard Poplak, Adi Eyal, Micah Reddy, Susan Comrie, Angelique Serrao, Stefaans Brummer, Antoinette Muller, Marianne Thamm, Sam Sole, Tabelo Timse, Pieter-Louis Myburgh, Craig McKune, Lionel Faull, Rebecca Davis and Sally Evans.

The Nat Nakasa Award for 2018 goes to Branko Brkic, editor of the online publication Daily Maverick.

ENDS

Statement issued by SANEF, 25 June 2018