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Viasen Soobramoney appointed as Independent Media’s Internal Press Ombudsman

Independent Media has appointed award-winning journalist, Viasen Soobramoney as its new internal press ombudsman. Soobramoney takes over from Yogas Nair who has moved to take up the position of Executive: New Business Development.

Of his appointment, Soobramoney says: ‘I am fully cognisant of the weight this role plays within our own organisation as well as that of the South Africa media industry.  The responsibility is not to be taken lightly. I would like to thank Yogas for her contribution to the office of the ombudsman, our colleagues and Dr Iqbal Survé for the opportunity.’

Soobramoney, a strong advocate for self-regulation and press freedom also said: ‘The cornerstone of self-regulation is public trust. We need to ensure that we hold ourselves accountable to the standards that define excellence within our industry, so we may provide our audiences with high-quality, accurate content that builds trust. I shall, therefore, endeavour to build on the example and foundation set by Yogas and her team, to further promote trust and journalistic ethics and standards across the Group, so our readers can count on us for objective and impartial reporting as well as their review requests.’

The new press ombudsman’s credentials and substantial experience lend themselves to taking up this important role within the organisation, with a career that has spanned numerous roles giving him a unique insight into the media house and the media landscape itself.

He joined Independent Media in 2011 as a reporter at POST after a stint in community radio and newspapers. In 2013, he conceptualised and led an award-winning civic journalism campaign, which received national acclaim.

Taking a hiatus in 2014 to pursue learnings in Digital Convergence at the Thomson Foundation in the United Kingdom, Soobramoney was appointed Team Leader: Mobile Journalism, on his return, developing and leading Africa’s first mobile journalism newsroom that trained young journalists in how to create digital content using smartphones.  His mobile journalism unit scooped multiple local, continental and international awards for their innovation in storytelling and journalism.

Soobramoney subsequently played a significant role in training journalists and editors within the group on digital content, multimedia creation and digital storytelling.  As a globally recognised media trainer, he has also conducted digital storytelling and mobile journalism training for journalists in several countries across Europe and Asia.

Leading several media innovation projects within the group, he has also held numerous senior editorial roles including Group Head: Multimedia, Deputy Editor: Business Report, Head of Digital Content, National Editor: Live News, Editor: Enterprise and Development, and more recently, Editor: Africa and World.

Dr Iqbal Survé, non-executive Chairman of Independent Media confirmed Soobramoney’s appointment saying: ‘Viasen is a highly skilled media professional who has proven his worth and versatility across the Group.  I have no doubt that as Independent Media’s Press Ombudsman he will bring his professional conduct and oversight to bear and ensure that our independent internal processes maintain their utmost integrity.  I am pleased he has accepted this role and thank him for his continued dedication to upholding excellent journalistic standards.’

Soobramoney’s ability to see the big picture also led to him conceptualising and developing the award-winning Coronavirus Monitor website in response to the global pandemic, which won a global innovation award from the International News Media Association (INMA).

Independent Media remains of the view that a self-regulating internal press ombudsman is vital in maintaining media values and principles and to protect the rights of the public.

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