The South African National Editors’ Forum (Sanef) on Wednesday announced the appointment of experienced media scholar, researcher and activist Dr. Kate Skinner as its executive director.
Skinner joins Sanef following the relaunch of the 21-year-old organisation, which remains the vanguard of media freedom as an integral part of strengthening South Africa’s democracy.
“We are delighted to welcome Kate to Sanef,” chairperson Mahlatse Mahlase said.
“We believe her long-standing commitment and passion to an independent media will strengthen Sanef and reinvigorate our contribution to strengthening media freedom in South Africa.
“Kate joins Sanef as we intensify our campaign to bring on board ordinary South Africans to be at the forefront of protecting the rights of journalists and defend them against intimidation, attack or harassment.”
The executive director runs the affairs of Sanef on a full-time basis, coordinates the organisation’s advocacy work and assists in raising funds for our media freedom projects. Sanef is the largest independent organisation representing editors and senior journalists in the country.
Skinner has a long and outstanding track record of media freedom advocacy. For the past two decades she has done work for various organisations and watchdogs dedicated to promoting fair, quality and ethical journalism, to defend the right of journalists to report without fear or favour.
Skinner has more than 20 years’ experience in the media industry, including chairing the board of the Freedom of Expression Institute, as a director of Kagiso educational television and most recently founding the Save our SABC (SOS) coalition.
In 2017, she received her PhD on public service broadcasting in the digital age from the University of the Witwatersrand.
On her watch, SOS successfully lobbyed for the withdrawal of the Draft Public Service Broadcasting Bill of 2009 which was designed to increase the powers of the minister in controlling the day-to-day operations of the SABC.
Most recently, SOS won a landmark court case that prevents the minister of communications from appointing SABC executives.
Last year Sanef launched a legal defence fund to enable it to defend court cases that affect the right of journalists to work freely in South Africa.
“We continue to call on individuals, organisations and cooperate South Africa to contribute to this fund,” said Sanef.
Skinner said Sanef had a “critical role to play in building a strong, free, quality and diverse media. I am delighted to have been given this opportunity to strengthen this very important organisation”.
– African News Agency (ANA)