03 May 2012

World Celebrates World Press Freedom Day

3 May marks World Press Freedom day. The day, championed by the United Nations Education, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), will be celebrated by the international freedom of expression community, and the press community in particular.

UNESCO marks this day as a day to “evaluate press freedom around the world, to defend the media from attacks on their independence, and to pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the exercise of their profession.”

The South African National Editors Forum (SANEF) have utilised the day to note their concern about the current state of press freedom in South Africa. In a statement released the organisation noted “South Africa remains a beacon of press freedom on the African continent, but that status has come under real threat from new legislative proposals, from hostile political rhetoric, and from the conduct of some senior state officials.”

Some of the contributing factors tarnishing the shine on South Africa’s previous position as the sterling example of press freedom in South Africa include the introduction of the Protection of State Information (Secrecy Bill), the General Intelligence Laws Amendment Bill, and the proposed Media Appeal Tribunal.

These proposed legislative amendments have contributed to the state has losing rank on the International Press Freedom Ranking. Currently South Africa is ranked 43 out of 179 countries that have been rated. The leading African country on the ranking is Namibia at 21, followed by Mali (25), Niger (29), Tanzania (34) and Ghana (41).

Despite the current threats posed to media freedom in South Africa, the day will be celebrated by freedom of expression activists. The Right 2 Know Campaign, in recognition and celebration of the struggles and victories that all citizens, workers and journalists have fought and secured for our collective freedom, have scheduled the following events today:


Event: Round table discussion on Media Freedom

Venue: Arthur Smith Hall, DUT City Campus (KZN)

Time: 12pm -1pm


Event: “Fighting for the Right2Know” – Public Seminar

Venue: Centre for Civil Society, MT Building UKZN (KZN)

Time: 12:30pm- 2pm

Movie Screening: The Most Dangerous Man in America

Followed by discussion by Ivor Powell, an investigative journalist

Venue: Labia Theatre (Cape Town)

Time: 6pm