ABSIP – MEDIA AND PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT POLICY
Date: 3 July 2020
Author: Khaya Sithole
The Association for Black Securities and Investment Professionals (ABSIP) is a professional membership organisation for black professionals working in the financial services and related sectors in South Africa. As an advocacy organisation that seeks to promote the interests of black professionals and the transformation of the financial services sector, ABSIP is expected to play a leading role in public engagements, policy debates and partnerships and collaborations with a wide range of stakeholders.
It is therefore anticipated that ABSIP will be frequently contacted by members of the media, research institutions and government agencies in order to solicit commentary, insight and expertise on various matters.
It is ABSIP’s view that the relationship with the media is a two-way process. ABSIP’s commentary adds an objective perspective and authority to news stories, whilst the organisation’s prominence in the media is a reflection of its role as an organisation focused on thought leadership particularly in matters of transformation in the financial services sector.
Public comments and engagements can be expressed in many ways, such as – but not limited to – public speaking engagements (when an invitation is extended to ABSIP rather than an individual), market commentary, and comments made to the media.
Such comments could be through a press release, telephonic interviews or briefings, comments or information in any form that is aimed for publication via social media, views expressed contributions to Parliamentary committees, opinion pieces in mass media channels, contributions to books, journals or notices that might reach the public domain.
The diversity of ABSIP’s membership base and the wide range of the sectors in which ABSIP is expected to be a thought leader in transformation, requires that ABSIP develops a network of experts, practitioners and members that can be relied upon to provide commentary, media responses and thought opinions on behalf of ABSIP.
This network is made up of representatives from all sectors in which ABSIP members play a role. A key consideration, however, is the need to ensure that opinions provided on behalf of ABSIP are aligned to the overall stance of the organisation rather than being reflective of personal opinions.
MEDIA AND PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT POLICY
To this end, this policy has been developed to provide guidance on how ABSIP – through its panel of members and selected experts – seeks to initiate, manage and maintain its public engagements.
IDENTIFICATION OF A PANEL OF EXPERTS
The National Executive Committee is responsible for developing a database/panel of ‘media contacts’ who are authorised to speak on behalf of ABSIP in line with this policy.
The process of identifying relevant contacts must be informed by various considerations including subject matter expertise, public profile of the individual, and ability to provide inputs within acceptable timeframes.
Members of the National Executive Committee are expected to form part of the network of experts in their capacity as office-bearers who may provide both specialist commentary/inputs and also organisational perspectives on non-specialist issues.
It is recommended that any identified media contacts are familiar with this policy as it will ensure an alignment of expectations for the organisation and the media contacts and ultimately, all ABSIP stakeholders.
ACCEPTING MEDIA INTERVIEWS
ABSIP’s panel of media contacts (NEC members, analysts, consultants and subject matter experts) should only accept interviews/comment requests that focus on their coverage area, specialism or vertical industry expertise.
Comments should be consistent with ABSIP’s published position. If a reporter asks about topics or an industry that is not in their coverage area, panel members should take the journalist’s contact details and forward them to the Public Relations (PR) department/Rich Mkhondo or provide the journalist with the contact details for the ABSIP office.
It may also be helpful to consult with Rich Mkhondo to discuss a journalist’s query or request for an interview and to formulate a response before an interview or written response.
ABSIP media contacts can accept interviews if they have time available (particularly in regard to broadcast media that requires travel to a studio and print media that is characterised by short turnaround times).
In order to ensure uniformity in the public positions associated with ABSIP, an editorial team is responsible for the vetting and when necessary – approval of opinions made by panel members on behalf of ABSIP. The editorial team comprises of the following individuals –
• Polo Leteka Radebe – ABSIP President
• Khaya S Sithole – ABSIP Treasurer
• Rich Mkhondo – ABSIP Media Specialist (Media Writers Firm)
CONFLICTS OF INTEREST
It is anticipated that members of the panel may be practitioners in the field or sector for which a comment. Opinion may be sought. In such instances, panel members may not utilise the public comment to promote their own business interests or associated business interests (including their employer or company). If panel members are unable to provide comment without making an explicit reference to their own interests, then such comments must be approved by the editorial team of ABSIP before they are finalised.
PUBLIC DISCLOSURE OF ABSIP PANEL
In order to assist the various stakeholders that may seek to solicit the views, opinions and comments from ABSIP through panel members, the panel database will be made available on the ABSIP website (www.absip.co.za) and accessible to media contacts and related agencies.