Government joins the country’s media industry in commemorating Media Freedom Day which resulted in legislative guarantees of press freedom and editorial independence. On October 19, 1977, South Africa’s apartheid government banned three publications and outlawed 17 anti-apartheid groups during the one-day crackdown, which came to be known as Black Wednesday.
The media industry has played a crucial role in transforming South Africa into a democratic state, and is currently at the forefront in shaping the public discourse. South Africa’s Constitution, which is the corner stone of the country’s democracy, protects the freedom of the media, freedom of expression and access to information and is also supported by legislative framework.
Acting GCIS CEO, Phumla Williams said: “South African media have been free from state and government control since the attainment of democracy. The role of media in society is imperative as it informs and empowers all members of society, and enhances democratic values. As the country gears towards celebrating 20 years of freedom, it is important to reflect on its media diversity and greater accessibility, which encompass an assortment of voices reflective of our rainbow nation.”
Government commends the media industry as it equips the public with information which empowers and enables citizens to participate, celebrate success, address challenges and strengthen our democracy.