January 10, 2018, marks one year since South African Photojournalist and community media stalwart, Shiraaz Mohamed, was kidnapped in Syria while with the South African international humanitarian organisation, Gift of the Givers. While the Media Development and Diversity Agency (MDDA) welcomes reports by the Gift of the Givers that they have received proof that the photojournalist is still alive, the MDDA joins the collective call for the urgent release and return of Shiraaz to his family, friends and colleagues in the media. Together with the worldwide media, the MDDA condemns any attacks on the entrenched right of journalists to work free from the threat of violence and to thereby ensure the right to access to information for all.
Shiraaz Mohamed is a member of the MDDA sister organization, Association of Independent Publishers (AIP), and is a well known and well loved figure in the community media sector, having started a community newspaper in Ennerdale, Gauteng, amongst other initiatives. Despite desperate attempts to find him, his whereabouts remain unknown and the MDDA extends heartfelt support to the Mohamed family during these distressing times and thanks all those who are working tirelessly to free him.
The MDDA is a statutory development agency, deriving its mandate, from Section 16 and 32 of the Constitution Act No. 108 of 1996, thereby providing for freedom of expression and access to information.
As a partnership between the South African Government and major print and broadcasting companies, it promotes and assists in the development of community media and small commercial media in South Africa and the transformation of the media, by providing support (financial, capacity building, etc.) in terms of the MDDA Act No 14 of 2002. It also aims to raise public awareness with regard to media development and diversity issues, and to encourage media literacy and a culture of reading. For further information: www.mdda.org.za
Issued by: Media Development and Diversity Agency