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Media freedom in South Africa - 'We've come a long way'

3 May 2019 12:40 PM
On World Press Freedom Day, Marianne Thamm talks about the battles facing the industry and gives details of an event in Cape Town.

The theme of this year's World Press Freedom Day is particularly pertinent to South Africa: 'Media for Democracy: Journalism and Elections in Times of Disinformation'.

The global conference is being hosted in Addis Ababa.

Daily Maverick assistant editor Marianne Thamm shares more about this year's event and the challenges facing the media in 2019.

It's organised across the globe by Unesco, the African Union Commission and this year, the Republic of Ethiopia.

Marianne Thamm, Assistant editor - Daily Maverick

Thamm points out that many governments have an uncomfortable relationship with the media and that South Africa is not excluded.

Globally, President Donald Trump does not like the media and has encouraged in a sense a kind of hostile attitude towards mainstream media.

Marianne Thamm, Assistant editor - Daily Maverick

The ruling party (in South Africa) has once before shut down exhibitions and stopped people from buying newspapers printing stories of corruption...

Marianne Thamm, Assistant editor - Daily Maverick

She does acknowledge, however, that the country has come a long way since the apartheid regime's practice of arrests and wholesale banning.

We've been able to operate in a mostly free environment, apart from what's happening online - the threats to Pieter-Louis Myburgh and his book 'Gangster State'... the death threats to Karima (Brown) from members of the EFF...

Marianne Thamm, Assistant editor - Daily Maverick

Then there is the other major threat to the media, which is the financial squeeze in the digital age.

Thamm says what is exciting, however, is finding new models of survival.

The Daily Maverick in particular, as you know we were a small online publication, we have 50 journalists now and as a result of support from readers...

Marianne Thamm, Assistant editor - Daily Maverick

These are some of the issues to be discussed at a World Press Freedom Day event at Cape Town's St George's Cathedral on Friday afternoon at 3 pm.

It will be hosted by Media Monitoring Africa, Sanef and Daily Maverick and we've got some interesting people who will speak to the matter of press freedom and the threat towards journalists.

Marianne Thamm, Assistant editor - Daily Maverick

The event is free, but tickets can be booked at

For more from Thamm, listen below:

3 May 2019 12:40 PM