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Sanef Commemorates 41st Anniversary of Black Wednesday

19 October 2018

The South African National Editors’ Forum (SANEF) commemorated the 41st anniversary of Black Wednesday yesterday.

A number of newspapers aligned with the black consciousness movement and ideology were banned by the Apartheid State on 19 October 1977. Various prominent journalists were also arrested on this day, along with 19 pro-democracy organisations.

Black Wednesday triggered a strong wave of resistance in our fight for media freedom in South Africa as well as across the continent.

Sanef hosted a number of activities in recognition of this dark day and in celebration of our hard-won freedom.

Sanef was proud to launch an in-depth research study on gender issues in our industry – “Glass Ceilings: Women in South African media houses”. The research is a joint project between SANEF and Gender Links, funded by the Media Development and Diversity Agency (MDDA). We encourage everyone to the read the report –

This important launch was followed by a fundraising dinner to raise resources for various campaigns for media freedom. We invited the President but unfortunately he was booked off due to ill health. Bonang Mohale, CEO of Business Leadership South Africa stepped in and delivered an excellent keynote address focusing on our economy and the role of business.

SANEF Chairperson Mahlatse Mahlase stated yesterday, “Sanef, as an organisation, is celebrating 22 years since it was established as the voice of ethical journalism, defenders of media freedom and ridding the industry of all past discrimination, whether racial or gender.” She reflected on the fact that SANEF is keenly aware of the fact that this year’s commemoration of Black Wednesday happened as there was a raging debate about the credibility of some media institutions, and the craft of journalism itself.  She stated that SANEF believes that this Black Wednesday 2018 was an opportunity to reflect honestly on the role of the media in rebuilding South Africa and working towards the dream of a truly free and prosperous society.

Mahlase stated however that these aims cannot be achieved when journalists are unethical and ignore crucial good journalist practices such as verifying information from sources. These serous lapses undermine democracy and media freedom, a freedom that is meant to protect and deepen our democracy.

For more information please contact:

Mahlatse Mahlase – SANEF Chairperson, 083 399 2852

Katy Katopodis – SANEF Deputy Chairperson, 082 805 7022

Sam Mkokeli – SANEF Chairperson – Media Freedom Sub-Committee, 082 084 2051

Sibusiso Ngalwa – Sanef Provincial Convenor, 073 404 1415

Kate Skinner – SANEF Executive Director, 082 926 6404