JOINT MEDIA STATEMENT ON SANEF AND GOVERNMENT INTERACTION
Government and the South African National Editors’ Forum (SANEF) held their annual meeting at Mount Grace, Magaliesburg, on October 19 and 20, 2012.
The meeting concentrated on key policy issues and the overall direction in which the country is moving, with a commitment to fostering a free and prosperous nation.
Government shared a range of information and insights with the country’s editors on the global economic crisis, recent economic trends, infrastructure development, the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project and the National Development Plan.
Opening the two-day meeting on Friday 19 October 2012, Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe acknowledged the role media play in society and in projecting the South African story.
The meeting coincided with the 35th anniversary of Black Wednesday. On 19 October 1977 the apartheid state gagged all media deemed to be promoting the struggle for democracy in this country.
The meeting noted the Constitutional guarantees on freedom of expression, including freedom of the press, which are part of the democratic dispensation and committed to deepening democracy.
Government welcomed steps taken by print media, through the work of the Press Council review process and of the Press Freedom Commission, to move from a system of self-regulation to one of independent co-regulation.
SANEF called on government to repeal or amend apartheid-era laws that are still in force and which, in SANEF’s view, unjustifiably restrict the free flow of information. The Cabinet indicated that work in this regard had already started and both parties committed to expediting the process.
Both parties committed to work closer together to strive to improve performance of the country.
The Cabinet undertook to make information available to editors to enable the media to inform the public and empower the people to hold government accountable.
Office of the Deputy President and South African National Editors’ Forum
20 October 2012