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About Us

The South African National Editors’ Forum (Sanef) is a non-profit organisation whose members are editors, senior journalists and journalism trainers from all areas of the South African media. We are committed to championing South Africa’s hard-won freedom of expression and promoting quality, ethics and diversity in the South African media.


Sanef Launch, 20 October 1996

Sanef, launched in 1996, stands on the shoulders of some of the country’s giants in the fight for liberty and social justice. We have played an active role in promoting a climate of free expression and transparency in a democratic South Africa and we subscribe to the constitutional principles of freedom of expression and freedom of the press.

Sanef’s existence is a tribute to the willingness of media leaders to unite across political and ideological barriers. The organisation was fundamentally a merging of two previously polarised groups – The Black Editors’ Forum, motivated by strong Africanist and black consciousness beliefs, and the Conference of Editors, largely made up of white, male, middle-class English and Afrikaans newspaper editors. The organisation’s history has been characterised by vigorous debate of controversial topics within the media industry and the establishment of two prestigious peer recognition awards, the Nat Nakasa Award and the Sanef-Wrottesley Award.

Read Part of the Story, Sanef’s 10th anniversary publication, to learn more about Sanef from its inception through the early years of its existence in South Africa’s fledgling democracy, and about its vision for the future.

Strategic objectives

Sanef’s chief aim is to be a representative and credible voice of journalism in society, to facilitate diversity in newsrooms and reporting, enable a culture of real debate and promote free and independent journalism of the highest standard. In addition, Sanef stands in defence of media freedom. We campaign for the elimination of legislation and commercial pressures that restrict media while also supporting the establishment of editors’ forums in the region and the continent.

Core principles

Sanef is founded on high ideals in an industry that, around the world, is often maligned for its lack of integrity. As a result, occupying the ethical high ground can be challenge, as succinctly described by Henry Jeffreys, editor of Die Burger newspaper, in May 2004: “Now that we’ve arrived, what are we going to do about the very high expectations that ordinary South Africans have of us leaders of the media? The bad news for editors … is that those expectations are not going to go away.” Sanef’s purpose is to help the media fulfil those expectations.


To promote the quality and ethics of journalism, to reflect the diversity of South Africa, and to champion freedom of expression.


To be a resource and catalyst for achievement of its vision through debate and action programmes.


Our values are integrity, tolerance, accountability and the public interest.

Sanef Programme for 2018

Sanef presentation – Programme for 2018

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