It is an opportunity to:
- celebrate the fundamental principles of press freedom;
- assess the state of press freedom throughout the world;
- defend the media from attacks on their independence;
- and pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the line of duty.
However, journalists and media owners continue to be harassed worldwide.
In South Africa, we have seen investigate reporters such as Sunday Times senior journalist Mzilikazi wa Afrika, Katharine Child- The Times newspaper and SABC journalists being intimidated and their lives threatened for exposing the truth.
Press freedom is being increasingly compromised in southern Africa‚ where journalists and media owners are being targeted for exposing the truth.
Amnesty International‚ in marking World Press Freedom Day on Wednesday‚ said the intimidation of journalists sent a frightening message to their colleagues‚ causing them to self-censor.
“From Angola to Zambia‚ we have seen disturbingly brazen attacks on press freedom which have a chilling effect on those working in the media.
Across the region‚ journalists have been targeted simply for exposing the truth‚” said Deprose Muchena‚ Amnesty International’s regional director for southern Africa.
Amnesty International cited cases where journalists in southern Africa have been shot‚ intimidated‚ harassed and criminally charged for investigative reporting.
“When journalists are constantly harassed‚ intimidated and jailed simply for doing their work‚ it sends a frightening message to other journalists – causing them to self-censor and undermining the whole profession‚” said Amnesty’s Muchena.
Recently, SLM reporters were also harassed at the Township Entrepreneurship Awards and threatened to be thrown out of the after-party by security guarding both MEC Lebogang Maile and Ekurhuleni Mayor Mzwandile Masina.
This was after photo-journalist Jacob Mawela attempted to take images of both politicians while having fun with their guests.