South Africa is ranked as number 24 on Reporters Without Borders World Press Freedom Index, and number three in all of Africa. On Thursday, social media erupted with talk of World Press Freedom Day and what it stands for globally.

In explaining the country’s press freedom, the website states:

“South Africa’s 1996 constitution protects the freedom of its very diverse media. However, apartheid-era legislation and the 2004 terrorism laws are used to limit coverage of government institutions when “national interest” is supposedly at stake. Journalists are harassed and subjected to intimidation campaigns if they try to cover certain subjects involving the ruling ANC, government finances, the redistribution of land to the black population or the #Guptaleaks affair, all which are either off limits or provoke a hostile reaction from the authorities. In June 2017, the dismissal of Hlaudi Motsoeneng, an associate of former President Jacob Zuma, from his position as a senior executive with state-owned TV broadcaster SABC highlighted the fragility of media freedom and independence in South Africa.”

Essentially, World Press Freedom Day celebrates the fundamental principles of press freedom, and also pays tribute to journalists who have been imprisoned or lost their lives while on duty. On Monday, a group of 10 journalists were slain in what has now become known as the country’s biggest attack on media since the fall of the Taliban in 2001.

The 10 journalists were killed in various assaults, highlighting the dangers that the media faces when covering news in a war-torn country. Omar Waraich, the deputy director of Amnesty International’s South Asia region, said that Afghanistan’s journalists are among the bravest in the world.

A double suicide blast in Kabul, which Isis acknowledged as their attack, left 25 people dead. These include nine of the journalists listed above. The 10th reporter, a BBC journalist, was killed in a separate incident in the Khost province. Hours after the Kabul explosion, dozens of Afghan news editors and executives returned to the site in a public display of defiance to militants.

 

Below is a series of Tweets which celebrates World Press Freedom Day:

Picture: Twitter

Article written by

Lucinda Dordley

Lucinda is a hard news writer who occasionally dabbles in lifestyle writing, and recent journalism graduate. She is a proud intersectional feminist, and is passionate about actively creating a world which is free of discrimination and inequality.