South African government has joined the media industry in commemorating the 45th anniversary of Black Wednesday, also known as National Press Freedom Day.
On this day in 1977, the apartheid government banned independent media in an attempt to silence it from reporting about the brutal acts of the apartheid regime. Journalists, which include the then editor of The World, Percy Qoboza were tormented and taken into detention.
In light of that historical tragedy, Black Wednesday serves as a reminder of how far the South African media has come and affords the country an opportunity to reflect on its press freedom.
Minister in the Presidency, Mondli Gungubele has taken the opportunity to stress that the right to press freedom and freedom of expression is an important cornerstone of our democracy.
He highlighted that the Constitution entrenches the right to freedom of expression, including media freedom because it recognises that the media plays a crucial role in ensuring that all South Africans and government are held to account.
The minister urged the media fraternity to continue upholding the standards of ethical reporting.
“We recognise the media as partners in strengthening our democracy and promoting our rights, which many have fought and died for during the years of struggle.
“We embrace any platform that allows us to strengthen relationships with the media, while also allowing us to speak about the work of government and to share our successes and challenges,” Gungubele said.