The Press Council, the Press Ombud and the Appeals Panel are an independent co-regulatory mechanism set up by the print and online media to provide impartial, expeditious and cost-effective adjudication to settle disputes between newspapers, magazines and online publications, 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 media, and to high standards in journalistic ethics and practice.
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 Press Ombud and the Appeals Panel to reach decisions on complaints from the public. Member publications subscribe to the Press Council's Code of Ethics and Conduct for SA Print and Online Media.
The Council is the custodian of this Code and may amend it from time to time. The print and online media industry believes in independent co-regulation involving exclusively representatives of the media 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 media and freedom of expression.