23 April 2014

South Africa: Analysis - South African Media On World Press Freedom Day 2014


As we approach World Press Freedom Day on 3 May, it's worth reflecting on how we are doing as a country in the press freedom stakes, relative to other countries but also with regard to whether we've improved or digressed within the past few years. All things considered, it does not look good.

It's valuable to remember that in August 2010, during the FIFA World Cup hangover, Sunday Times journalist Mzilikazi wa Afrika had just been arrested, his home raided by police and he had been whisked away to an undisclosed location to be held in police custody. The latter half of 2010 saw the ANC reiterating its calls for a media appeals tribunal, which would supposedly indicate a statutory regulatory mechanism for the press, and posed the danger of political censorship. The Protection of State Information Bill, or Secrecy Bill, reared its head for the first time: although the Secrecy Bill would not exclusively impact journalist's efforts to access information, it did and does still have negative ramifications for the media.

It's also worth remembering the response to all of those 2010 events. Media people, civil society and academics alike cried foul at the treatment of...

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