South Africa-Communication-Editors

S/Africa’s editors body clocks 25 years of media freedom

APA-Pretoria (South Africa)

South Africa’s editors called on their compatriots to continue being the “first line of defence” for journalists as they celebrated 25 years of championing media freedom in the country.

Grouping themselves as the South African National Editors Forum (Sanef), the editors are also holding a fundraising dinner Friday night to mark this milestone during which world renowned humanitarian Imtiaz Sooliman, founder of the disaster relief organisation Gift of the Givers, will deliver a keynote address. 

Sooliman was this week crowned the Social Justice Champion of 2021 in the country.

Titled “The role and importance of independent journalism and active citizenry in a weak State”, the address by Sooliman will attempt to inspire South Africans to continue to support the work Sanef does which is “anchored in the constitution’s guarantees of press freedom,” Sanef chairperson Sbu Ngalwa said. 

“Today, the work of fearless people like journalists Percy Qoboza, Don Mattera, Mathatha Tsedu, Joe Tlholoe and Aggrey Klaaste, to name a few, continues to inspire us that there is more to do as we seek to safeguard hard earned rights like freedom of expression,” Ngalwa said. 

He added: “We urge South Africans to continue being the first line of defence for our journalists and their work, and underscoring that a free media is a critical tenet of a healthy democracy.” 

Sanef was born when two influential organisations united to build a formidable institution that was instrumental in the protection of the media and the public’s right to know about the affairs of the country. 

Sanef will also use the event to commemorate 44 years since the tragic events of 19 October 1977 -- when scores of journalists and black consciousness leaders were detained and banned by the apartheid regime in a desperate attempt to stop them from exposing atrocities by an oppressive regime against the people of the country. 

The fundraising dinner will also be used to launch a commemorative booklet marking Sanef’s 25th anniversary – documenting the struggles, victories and challenges ahead for the defenders of freedom. 

NM/jn/APA

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