Anton Harber digs deep to probe state of SA journalism in capture era

14 September 2020 - 10:23
Anton Harber's two tales reveal the lows and highs of journalism during an era of state capture.
Anton Harber's two tales reveal the lows and highs of journalism during an era of state capture.
Image: Supplied

Veteran journalist Anton Harber brings all his investigative skills to bear on his own profession, the media. For two years he conducted dozens of interviews with politicians, journalists, policemen and “deep throats”, before piecing together two remarkable tales.

The first is a chilling story of police death squads, rogue units and renditions, and how SA's leading newspaper was duped into doing the dirty work of corrupt politicians. The second starts with a broken and discarded hard drive and evolves, with many near misses, into the exposure of the depths of the Guptas' influence over the ruling party.

Harber's two tales reveal the lows and highs of journalism during an era of state capture. His book is both a disquieting exposé of how easily the media can be duped by a conniving cabal for its own selfish ends, and a celebration of brilliant investigative reporting by brave and ethical journalists.

Anton Harber was a founding co-editor of the Weekly Mail, later known as the Mail & Guardian. He was the chair of the Conference of Editors in 1991, the National Association of Broadcasters in 1998, and the Freedom of Expression Institute in 2010. He serves on the board of directors of the Global Investigative Journalism Network and the Centre for Collaborative Investigative Journalism. He is an adjunct professor of journalism at the University of the Witwatersrand, a columnist for Business Day, and the co-editor or author of five books.