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Attack against WITS for Oscar Pistorius.

Scathing allegations have been made against the Wits Justice Project by the acting National Commissioner of the Department Of Correctional Services, Zach Modise. These allegations were made during the Commissioner’s testimony in the sentencing hearing of Oscar Pistorius, on Thursday.

The Wits Justice Project is an independent project based at the University of the Witwatersrand's Department of Journalism. During his testimony, the Commissioner provided that the Wits justice Project was run by two journalists and accused them of only writing stories that aim to depict the Department Of Correctional Services in a negative manner.


The commissioner also accused the Wits Justice Project of being immensely biased, publishing unsubstantiated and unverified facts.

The Wits justice project responded to the allegations by providing that they are incorrect and that their unique position inside a University requires all of their output to be governed by strict rules of ethics and journalistic corroboration and verification.

The Wits Justice Project publishes their articles in a wide range of both South African and international media, including The Star, The Saturday Star, City Press, The Mail and Guardian, The Daily Maverick and The Guardian UK.

The Project is part of the journalism department at Wits University and is headed by Professor Anton Harber. Furthermore the Project is governed by a distinguished Advisory Board, whose members include Wits Deputy Vice-Chancellor, a member of the UN Committee for Human Rights, a former Constitutional Court judge, the head of the Legal Resources Centre and a Human Rights Advocate.

Wits provided that they write about correctional facilities and aim to expose human rights abuse, as well as miscarriages of justice. They claim that they are quick to point out that the criminal justice system is part of a series of departments with responsibilities towards offenders and remand detainees.

 On 15 October, the Wits Justice Project publically applauded the Department Of Correctional Services’ attempts to reduce the remand detainee population through legislative change in South Africa's parliamentary briefings.

 The Wits Justice Project also provided that they do not print without hard evidence and that for every investigation that they publish, they possess strong evidence including official medical documents, eye-witness accounts, and other forms of corroboration.

 “We actively solicit relevant comment from the department on every article that they publish that involves them in any way”, Wits said.

The project holds that they cannot be held responsible if the department does not take up this opportunity that is repeatedly offered to them. The project further provided that they stand by every story that they have published, knowing that evidence can be produced as and when they are required to respond to such grossly improper and unfounded allegations.

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