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EDITORIAL COMMENT: Crime mecca

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The past week Polokwane Observer Editor Yolande Nel came under fire for refusing to expose a source she referred to in a lead story, titled Crime Mecca, a fortnight ago.
Dual attempts from Westenburg Community Policing Forum (CPF) representative Joosuf Pemma, who immediately upon publication asked to meet her source in response to allegations about criminal activity in the area, were met by a firm stance not to put a source at risk.
A subsequent story in a local opposition paper last week indirectly slamming Nel for protecting her source called for Polokwane Observer to re-affirm its stance not to divulge those who entrust its editorial team with confidential information under any circumstances. It didn’t only surprise that another journalist deemed it necessary to give the WCPF a voice on the matter, but shows ignorance about the workings of the media.
Polokwane Observer’s management and journalists are adamant about maintaining the highest ethical standards. The credibility of a journalist may never be doubted and protecting a source in the process is forever paramount, a rule any journalist anywhere in the world should abide by.
Demanding of a journalist to make available a source is considered intimidation.
In many instances Polokwane Observer’s editorial team members risk their lives in their endeavours to unravel stories, with repercussions that can endanger those they trust as sources. The decision to withhold the source could not be queried, not by a member of the community we serve or an ignorant journalist.
Never will Polokwane Observer’s journalists risk their sources, especially not exposing them to role players in a community who are supposed to know where the hotspots closest to home are located.
Having established that the same demands had not been made to the opposition newspaper for a meeting with their sources by Monday morning, gives impetus to the suspicion that Nel as author of the initial story has become the target.
At Polokwane Observer we report without fear or favour. More importantly we refuse to renege on our undertaking of confidentiality given to those we work with.