by MTHULISI SIBANDA
JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) – MEDIA freedom in South Africa is cause for optimism and pride, President Cyril Ramaphosa said ahead of the country observing Media Freedom Day.
The day is marked annually on October 19.
This is in commemoration of the apartheid regime banning critical newspapers, arrested an editor and scores of activists as well as outlawing several Black Consciousness organisations on that day in 1977.
“In South Africa barely 45 years ago, the very practice of journalism was seen as a threat to the stability of the state,” Ramaphosa stated.
He was writing in his weekly letter.
In reflecting on how things have changed since the advent of democracy, Ramaphosa cited the real-time barometer on global press freedom published by Reporters Without Borders (RSF).
It details abuses of journalists per country.
This year alone 45 journalists and four media workers have been killed in various parts of the globe in circumstances relating to their work.
Some 207 journalists and seven media workers have been imprisoned.
Ramaphosa noted that in South Africa, no journalists were killed or imprisoned in 2022, as was the case last year, the year before and in the years preceding them.
“This is an indicator of the robust health of not just our media but of democracy itself,” he said.
South African media also commemorates World Press Freedom Day on May 3.
“As we commemorate Media Freedom Day, we salute our nation’s hardworking journalists, editors and other media workers who continue to fulfil their important role in the service of democracy,” Ramaphosa concluded.
– CAJ News