South Africa: Integrity and Independence Must Be the North Star That Guides Both Central Banks and Journalism

opinion

In many ways, the media and central banks struggle with the same dance: The need for independence balanced by the need to be held accountable to society.

This year, 19 October marks 42 years since Black Wednesday. Black Wednesday saw the banning of several prominent South African newspapers, the arrest and subsequent torture of numerous editors and journalists, and the banning of 19 black consciousness organisations. It marks one of the darkest days for media freedom in the history of South Africa.

As Glenda Daniels wrote in a piece marking the 40th anniversary of Black Wednesday: "Nothing as violent as this has occurred since 1994. But today, the media is a murky, ambivalent and contested space marred by political interference, commercial imperatives and depleted newsrooms."

Carefully chosen words, "the media is a murky, ambivalent and contested space marred by political interference, commercial imperatives and depleted newsrooms". As with so much in South Africa since 1994, our world has become much more complex and the old dichotomies have broken down. Apartheid was universally accepted as evil and so fighting apartheid was universally accepted as good. There was a clear right and a clear wrong, a visible enemy and a tangible end...

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