Media release

Government commemorates Media Freedom Day

19 October 2017

19 October 2017

Media Freedom Commemorated by Government

Government joins South Africa’s media industry in commemorating the anniversary of Media Freedom Day which resulted in legislative guarantees of press freedom and editorial independence.

The 19th of October, commonly known as Black Wednesday, is set aside to commemorate media freedom following a one-day crackdown in 1977 on publications and the outlawing of anti-apartheid groups by South Africa's apartheid government.

The commemoration of media freedom day coincides with the celebration of Oliver Reginald Tambo centenary month. Communication was one of the most powerful weapons that OR Tambo believed would dismantle the apartheid government and liberate South Africans. He was also instrumental in the establishment of Radio Freedom.

Acting GCIS Director-General, Phumla Williams, said: “The attainment of democracy brought to the forefront challenges to the media system in the country, and today we enjoy a media industry which is key to a healthy and vibrant democracy. The hard fought for freedom of the press in 1977 played an instrumental role in the attainment of democracy; and it is the very same freedom that still has a pivotal role in moving South Africa forward.”

The Constitution explicitly protects media freedom which is recognized as playing a critical role in the advancement of national unity and equality for all. This can be achieved through mainstreaming social cohesion and promote the ethics and values of South Africa into their work.  Today, government celebrates the country's media as instrumental in realizing the National Development Plan’s vision of eliminating poverty and reducing inequality and unemployment by 2030.

“Government remains committed to strengthening its partnership and stakeholder relations with the media industry. As the bona fide media industry embraces the technological revolution, addresses the rise of fake news and improve the quality of journalism in the country; it will significantly contribute in shaping and moving South Africa in an upward trajectory.”

Phumla Williams (Acting Director-General)
Cell: 083 501 0139

Government Communication and Information System

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