Forty years ago today on 19 October 1977, the apartheid government under the then Internal Security Act, declared 19 organisations unlawful and around 70 leading Africans.
The day became known as ‘Black Wednesday’.
In addition to banning certain publications, a number of journalists were placed under restriction and detained, editor of The World Percy Qoboza, key writers Joe Thloloe, Mathatha Tsedu and Don Mattera among many others, were tortured in prison. Upon their release, they were handed five-year banning orders.
Mahlatsi Mahlase, South African National Editors Forum (Sanef) and Afternoon Drive host, Bongani Bingwa reflect on this day and media freedom in 2017.
She says because of South Africa's Constitution, media freedom in the country still stands, despite it being under attack.
Part of what we are doing in honouring that generation of journalists and editors is to say we need to revive the fight against media freedom.— Mahlatsi Mahlase, South African National Editors Forum (SANEF)
She explains that commemorating 'Black Wednesday' is an important reminder of where South Africa comes from as a country and also serves as a reminder to current journalists and editors of their responsibilities.
Mahlase also expresses her concerns with the new appointments to the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) adding that it is important to protect such an institution from political interference.
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