Media freedom day deserves more: Mazwai

By Drum Digital
17 October 2014

Media Freedom Day deserves more than just a passing mention, says veteran editor Thami Mazwai.

Media Freedom Day deserves more than just a passing mention, veteran editor Thami Mazwai said on Friday. "What I find very sad is that an event of such magnitude has not really been captured in terms of the current dynamics of our country," he said at a Media Freedom Day commemoration in Johannesburg.

"It is an event that seems to have been forgotten and yet it was the turning point to quite a few things that are happening now."

Mazwai was referring to October 19, 1977, also known as "Black Wednesday", when, under the apartheid government, three newspapers were banned and activists and journalists jailed.

He was speaking at the Media Freedom Day hosted by the SA National Editors' Forum and Wits Journalism.

Mazwai reflected on his experience that day as he found out many of his colleagues had been arrested.

"It was the day the state admitted it was powerless over the media because every attempt it made in terms of regulations [failed]... We found ways of really telling the story," he said.

"At times we found ourselves even defying the lawyers and tempting the law."

Mazwai said he felt Media Freedom Day should be institutionalised.


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