promoting sustainable JOURNALISM
Annual SANEF Fundraiser Dinner 2022
This year marks twenty-six years since the South African National Editors’ Forum (SANEF) was established with the aim of protecting media freedom and promoting media ethics.
The last two years of COVID-19 dominated news reporting, the other “pandemic” of mis- and disinformation on social media platforms and vast political upheavals both abroad and in South Africa, has highlighted the role of the media as even more critical in ensuring people are informed and have accurate information about the events unfolding around them.
Journalists across the world are facing increasingly hostile environments intended to make doing their jobs more difficult. Many have been threatened and publicly assaulted as they strive to search for the truth and publish the facts. More women in the media are facing cyber bullying, a rising phenomenon in SA.
Since 2016, SANEF has hosted an annual fundraiser gala dinner in honour of “Black Wednesday”. The historical significance of this day refers to 19 October 1977, when apartheid-era Justice Minister Jimmy Kruger outlawed 18 organisations, including the Union of Black Journalists (UBJ), three newspapers: the World and the Weekend World edited by celebrated editor, Percy Qoboza, and Pro Veritate, a publication published by antiapartheid activist Beyers Naude. Qoboza and his deputy, Aggrey Klaaste, were imprisoned. Naude and Donald Woods, editor of the Daily Dispatch, were banned from writing and put under house arrest.
SANEF commemorates this day to mark this day in history, also to remember journalist and editors that paved the way for the same media freedom we jealously guard today. The above newspapers, journalists, and editors and other organisations were banned, harassed, assaulted, and imprisoned but also all journalists and editors that were harassed, intimidated and assaulted throughout the apartheid era. The gala dinner reminds us of that dark day and celebrates how far we have come but it is also a time to reflect on current media freedom matters, particularly where censorship has still not been eradicated and where new forms of censorship have arisen.
The fundraising element focusses on building our media freedom legal fund. This fund has been used to support a number of high profile and important cases such as a case against Black First Land First – that openly attacked journalists and editors in 2017, including confronting and accosting editors at their houses. SANEF won this case.
The fund has also supported SANEF’s litigation against South Africa’s thirdlargest political party, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) to push for the protection of journalists online. Much backing goes into a significant amount of policy and legislative work to maintain and improve the media freedom landscape in South Africa.
SANEF invites you to support media freedom by buying a package to our event which will be hosted this year on Friday, 21 October at a yet-to-be disclosed venue in Johannesburg with a guest speaker on the programme, please access the letter here.