3 May 2021
Government joins the rest of the world in commemorating World Press Freedom Day under the theme “Information as a Public Good”. The 3rd of May is a day set aside to realise and raise the importance of press freedom. The 2021 commemoration coincides with the 30th anniversary of the Windhoek Declaration for the Development of a Free, Independent and Pluralistic Press. The seminar in 1991 served as a catalyst to encourage press freedom, independence and pluralism in Africa and in other parts of the world.
Government remains steadfast in its commitment to uphold press freedom, which is enshrined in our Constitution. Since 1994 government has been resolute in the belief that an independent and free media are vital partners in strengthening any democracy.
This year’s press freedom day is a call to affirm the importance of valuing information as a public good, realizing the importance of having access to credible information, especially in an era of mis-and-disinformation. At the core, of what is termed fake news, is the devastating impact that it leaves on individuals, the public and democracy. In response to misinformation across borders, journalism provides the most effective means of ensuring that public debate is based on established facts.
GCIS Director General, Phumla Williams said: “In an era of instant information sharing, as well as the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for trustworthy and fact checked news for public good is crucial. The GCIS welcomes its regular interactions with the media through platforms that caters for strengthening relationships while also allowing us to speak about the work of government and to share our successes and challenges.”
The good work of South African media during the Covid-19 pandemic is acknowledged and appreciated. Whilst, government continues to respond to the deadly pandemic; journalists continue to be at the forefront in the fight against the virus by seeding information about the state of national preparedness, precautionary and educative measures to be taken and general information about the pandemic.
Government once again thank all frontline journalists who have been working diligently to inform the nation about COVID-19 and help citizens understand the spread and impact of the virus. Government also remembers the brave journalists that have lost their lives whilst bringing reliable information to our homes.
Issued by Government Communications