Media heavyweights dive into factors affecting SA's press freedom

The encroachment of media freedom in South Africa is becoming a growing concern.

A free and diverse media is crucial to promoting transparency and accountability in any democratic state.

A series of events over the past few months has begged the question: Is media freedom under threat?

eNCA's Vuyo Mvoko, Sanef's Sam Mkokeli and Huffington Post SA's Ferial Haffajee had this to say:

Haffajee, editor-at-large at The Huffington Post SA, believes that media freedom is not under threat.

She argues that media freedom - and the ability to enforce it - is much better in South Africa than in other parts of the world.

According to Haffajee, the harassment and protest outside Tiso Blackstar editor Peter Bruce's home was an exceptional circumstance.

I think we enjoy a wonderful media freedom and I feel free to exercise my rights as a journalist.

Ferial Haffajee, Huffington Post SA editor-at-large

Mkokeli, chair of Sanef's media freedom sub committee, believes there are various threats to media freedom which are not limited to physical intimidation.

It's not a yes or nor answer. There are threats to media freedom in South Africa, but I feel free. The environment is very hostile out there.

Sam Mkokeli, Sanef Media freedom Sub Committee Chairperson

Read: Award-winning journo reflects on death threats and bribes over govt exposé

Mvoko, an eNCA news anchor, says that the climate is becoming more hostile for media practitioners to operate in.

He maintains that the media and judiciary are the last line of defense for democracy, and may face even more bribery and death threats in the future.

Media freedom is not entirely under threat. But there are strong signs that we are about to get into really tough times. There are people who have vested interest who don't like their things exposed.

Vuyo Mvoko, eNCA news anchor and veteran broadcaster

They are going to stop at nothing from doing things like trying to bribe journalists not to report stories... I'm not being alarmist, but very soon people are going to resort to other means - including killing people.

Vuyo Mvoko, eNCA news anchor and veteran broadcaster

The trio joined host Eusebius Mckaiser to discuss the authoritarian and security creep that makes the work of journalists more difficult.

They also spoke about the effect of media coverage, importance of news judgment and media accessibility.

Other talking point included the SABC, the weaponisation of social media, fake news and economic pressures that disrupt editorial independence.

Self-regulation of the media, censorship and the responsibility of journalists and broadcasters was also debated.

Take a listen to the engaging discussion:


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