The Council, the Ombudsman and the Appeals Panel are an independent co-regulatory mechanism set up by the print media to provide impartial, expeditious and cost-effective adjudication to settle disputes between newspapers and magazines, on the one hand, and members of the public, on the other, over the editorial content of publications.
The mechanism is based on two pillars: a commitment to freedom of expression, including freedom of the press, and to excellence in journalistic practice and ethics.
The Council has adopted the South African Press Code to guide journalists in their daily practice of gathering and distributing news and opinion and to guide the Ombudsman and the Appeals Panel to reach decisions on complaints from the public. More than 640 publications, mainly members of Print Media South Africa, subscribe to the Code.
The Council is the custodian of this Code and may amend it from time to time, depending on needs.
The industry believes in independent co-regulation involving exclusively representatives of the press and representatives of the public because it is the only way that the rights of freedom of expression and freedom of the press and other media guaranteed in the Constitution of the Republic can be truly exercised. Any other form of regulation would threaten the independence of the press and freedom of expression.