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SANEF Commemorates Black Wednesday and Celebrates Media Freedom Day

SANEF Chairperson Sbu Ngalwa at the Fundraiser Gala Dinner
SANEF chairperson-Sbu Ngalwa at the Fundraiser Gala Dinner


22 October 2023

The South African National Editors’ Forum (SANEF) commemorated Black Wednesday at a fundraising dinner addressed by Mr Mpho Makwana outgoing Eskom Board chairman which was attended by over 200 business guests in Johannesburg on Friday evening 20 October 2023.

SANEF has raised R2 million rands this year. This will go towards building our media defence fund that supports legal cases to protect media freedom. The gala dinner is organised every year in memory of the journalist organisations, editors, and journalists who were banned, harassed, assaulted, and imprisoned on that day, 19th October 1977.

Makwana said at the fundraising event, where the main sponsor was ABSA, that South Africa needed the media now in 2023 more than ever to find ways to help rekindle our sense of humanity as a nation. “Help us recover ourselves. We are getting deeper into a nation that is ripping itself apart.”

He challenged businesses to be amongst the best corporate citizens in the country through value creation by supporting the fourth estate to remain independent and sustainable. On the other hand, the media should note that there is a big task at hand to help this nation focus be guided out of despair and be moved from good to great. You can access his speech here.

Sbu Ngalwa, the SANEF chairperson, described the support for media freedom in the country from the corporate sector as “a testament to its commitment to supporting the media industry in South Africa and Africa as a whole”.

He acknowledged the work of business in boosting journalism skills development initiatives such as the SANLAM Summer School of Financial Journalism held in October every year for the past 20 years. This year, the MTN-sponsored Media Innovation Programme was designed to equip journalists with skills to report better on the technology sector, which is instrumental in improving the quality of journalism in Nigeria. Similarly, SANEF launched the SANEF Fellowship in Financial Journalism at Wits University sponsored by Deloitte, which equips journalists with skills to unpack complex financial and economic concepts and make them accessible to the public.

“As journalists, we are facing unprecedented challenges that require urgent attention. The media industry is in dire straits, and we must find innovative ways to sustain it. We cannot afford to stand by and watch as media houses continue to struggle to survive,” said Ngalwa.

He said South Africa needed to recognise that journalism is a public good, and the cost of data was too high for ordinary South Africans to access news. He appealed to telecommunications networks to seriously “consider zero-rating news sites to make them accessible to everyone”.

“This will also help in the fight against fake news because only news organizations that subscribe to the Press Code and are members of the SA Press Council will qualify for zero-rating,” he said. You can access his speech here.

SANEF adopted the May 3 World Press Freedom Day theme of “Shaping a Future of Rights: Freedom of expression as a driver for all other human rights”, which signifies the enabling element of freedom of expression to enjoy and protect all other human rights. The theme was chosen by UNESCO marking 30 years since the UN General Assembly’s decision proclaiming an international day for press freedom. It also reminds governments of the need to respect their commitment to press freedom and a day of reflection among journalists about press freedom and professional ethics.

Akash Singh, Absa Group’s Chief Compliance Officer, said not everyone or every country has the privilege of enjoying media freedom rights. South Africa should not take for granted the fact that it is celebrating 30 years of media freedom as it contemplates the future. This country should value the media as the key pillar of our democracy.

“We value the media as a key pillar in safeguarding Africa’s hard-fought liberties and ensuring a vibrant and prosperous society,” Singh said.

Vuslat Bayoglu managing director at Menar (a mining investment company) said there is a relationship between media freedom and the economic wealth of nations. The free media is and tends to be more visible in countries that have higher economic prospects.

“Menar hopes to keep supporting media freedom initiatives to ensure that there is no proliferation of brown envelop journalism in this country,” said Bayoglu.

Note to Editors:

The South African National Editors’ Forum (SANEF) is a non-profit organisation whose members are editors, senior journalists, and journalism trainers from all areas of South African media. We are committed to championing South Africa’s hard-won freedom of expression and promoting quality, ethics, and diversity in the South African media. We promote excellence in journalism through fighting for media freedom, writing policy submissions, research, and education and training programmes. SANEF is not a union.

For more information please contact:

Sbu Ngalwa – SANEF Chairperson (073) 404-1415

Nwabisa Makunga – SANEF Deputy Chairperson (082) 555-1972

Qaanitah Hunter – SANEF Secretary-General

Tshamano Makhadi – Treasurer-General (082) 223 0621

Makhudu Sefara – SANEF Media Freedom Chair (079) 177-2134

Katy Katopodis – SANEF Wellness and Safety Chair (082) 805-7022

Judy Sandison – SANEF KZN Convenor (082) 571-3334

Glenda Daniels – SANEF Gauteng Convenor (083) 229-9708

Rochelle De Kock – SANEF Eastern Cape Convenor (072) 969-8028

Asanda Ngoasheng – SANEF Western Cape Convenor (082) 610 9374

Reggy Moalusi – SANEF Executive Director (071) 682-3695

Twitter: @SAEditorsForum

Email: [email protected]

Website: www.sanef.org.za

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