Freedom of expression advocates in South Africa are concerned that the new Ministry of Communications, announced by President Jacob Zuma when he unveiled his cabinet on May 25, will compromise the independence of the public broadcaster and serve as a propaganda office.
This week, South Africans go to the polls for their fifth democratic elections since 1994, but despite constitutional guarantees of media freedom, the vast majority of South Africans who vote will do so informed only by the positive news and information carried by a public broadcaster widely criticized for its partiality to the ruling party.
Training journalists how to better cover gender-based violence can help challenge attitudes that foster sexual attacks. Helping journalists learn personal skills to safely navigate sexual aggression can help prevent them from becoming victims themselves.
The South African Broadcasting Corporation is in the news for not airing a politically sensitive documentary that details allegations of apartheid-era theft of public funds. The public broadcaster, which had commissioned the film, has also refused to sell the rights back to the filmmaker and has filed a lawsuit demanding she turn over her raw footage and accusing her of breaching copyright by staging private screenings.
From Cape Town to Lilongwe, four photographers on routine news assignments in major southern Africa cities were assaulted by security officials in the past two weeks. The details differ, but the heavy-handed actions in each case reflect a belief among those responsible for security that they are above the law and not publicly accountable. These recent attacks in southern Africa also highlight a wider phenomenon: Every day, somewhere in the world, news photographers are subjected to physical abuse by security and public officials who wish to suppress or control the powerful message delivered by images.
South Africa is in the midst of one of its most important political events--the ruling African National Congress's Mangaung elective conference, which takes place once every five years to shape policy and elect new leadership. Because of the power of the ANC as South Africa's leading political party, the conference holds not only the future of the party in its hands, but also the future of South Africa.
Photojournalist Alf Kumalo, whose career chronicled the inception, injustice, and demise of apartheid in South Africa, passed away on Sunday in a Johannesburg hospital at the age of 82.
South African journalists and civil society groups were uneasy this month amid rumors that the Protection of State Information Bill, commonly known as the Secrecy Bill, would pass the Upper House of parliament, the last step before a presidential signature. Since 2008, journalists and civil society have lobbied against the bill, which many fear would spell the end of investigative journalism. A number of these fears have been alleviated by nearly 200 amendments to the draft since its inception, according to the communications director of the ruling African National Congress's (ANC) parliamentary caucus, Moloto Mothapo.
South African journalist and arts critic Charl Blignaut made what turned out to be an excellent prediction. "Of all the work on show, it's this depiction of the president that will set the most tongues wagging and most likely generate some howls of disapproval," he wrote on May 13 in a review of an art exhibition in Johannesburg.
Do you believe the free flow of information must be protected? Sign the #RightToReport petition and demand that President Obama immediately:
1. Issue a presidential policy directive prohibiting the hacking and surveillance of journalists and media organizations.
2. Limit aggressive prosecutions that ensnare journalists and intimidate whistleblowers.
3. Prevent the harassment of journalists at the U.S. border.
Or click here to see the full petition, and join leading journalists like Christiane Amanpour, The Guardian’s Alan Rusbridger, Editor of the AP Kathleen Carroll, and Arianna Huffington in signing on.