Jun 18, 2021

Mawazo Writing Africa

Writing about the main

Ramaphosa reflects on SA media freedom in his weekly letter

In his weekly letter, President Cyril Ramaphosa reflected on how media freedom has changed in South Africa since the days of apartheid and the challenges the industry is facing today. The president apparently chose this topic because Freedom Month has just ended and Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has released its 2021 World Press Freedom Index.


Ramaphosa said we live in a country where all citizens can freely articulate their views, opinions and discontent without fear of retaliation, but this has not always been the case. “As Freedom Month draws to a close, we remember how far we are from the days when social protests by artists led to prohibition orders and critical reporting by journalists risked imprisonment or the closure of publications,” the president said in his letter on Monday, September 3, May.

RSF’s 2021 report examined media freedom in 180 countries and territories, found that journalism was completely blocked or seriously disabled in 73 countries , and restricted in 59 other countries, meaning that journalism is in dire condition. 73% of the countries surveyed.

The data also show that people’s access to information is deteriorating and that there are barriers to them reporting is becoming more common – which is compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the Edelman Trust Barometer of 2021, nearly 60% of respondents in 28 countries believe journalists are intentionally trying to mislead the public by reporting information they know is wrong.

“What is worrying is that media freedom has deteriorated under the COVID-19 pandemic, with the various restrictions appearing to have been used to curb media activity in several places,” Ramaphosa said.

The Secretary General of the RSF said journalism is “the best vaccine against disinformation” but its production and distribution is too often blocked by political, economic and even cultural factors.

< h2 id = "h -sa-press-freedom-guaranteed-but-fragile-says-rsf"> SA PRESS FREEDOM ‘GUARANTEED BUT FRAGILE’, SAYS RSF

The media freedom report said the south The protection of the The African constitution protects freedom of the press and the country is home to an established culture of investigative journalism p> “The state security agency spies on some journalists and taps on their phones. Others face harassment and intimidation campaigns for attempting to address issues such as the ruling ANC, public finances, redistribution of land to the black population, or corruption, “said RSF.

The South African National Editors’ Forum (SANEF) has also accused the Crime Intelligence Division of the South African Police Service (SAPS) of recently keeping tabs on journalists. The forum also condemned political interference in the newsroom, saying history has shown that independence is undermined when politicians intrude into the inner workings of the newsroom.

The report also found an increase in abuse of Women journalists in southern Africa identified insults, harassment and threats on social media. Ramaphosa said this intimidation – especially the threat of sexual violence – was a matter of great concern that could not be admitted.

South Africa fell one place, ranking 32nd in the world press freedom index in 2021. Norway took first place while Eritrea took last place. The African countries with better press freedom than South Africa are Namibia (24), Cape Verde (27) and Ghana (30). Economic heavyweights such as the United States (44), France (34) and the United Kingdom (33) ranked lower.


Ramaphosa praised the South African media for its central role in exposing corruption and state imprisonment But added, that corruption is not the only challenge facing the country.

“The daily lives of many South Africans are still affected by poverty, inequality and underdevelopment. Poor service delivery and lack of access to opportunities, “said the president.

Ramaphosa said that if the media is to” remain true to its responsibility to support democracy, “journalists must cover” other issues of the Day “, including gender-based violence, crime and” social grievances such as drug abuse “.

remnants of everyone who love this country and wish it to be successful, that our media are supported and not hindered in their work. Let us continue to work together as a society to jealously protect our country’s media freedom. It was hard fought and without it we cannot hope to thrive, ”concluded the President.