Cape Town – The struggle for media freedom in South Africa is rooted in the country’s overall struggle for liberation. In the aftermath of the 1976 student revolt, the apartheid regime intensified its efforts to blunt the march to freedom. The media was not spared its wrath.

On October 19, 1977, barely a month after the murder of Bantu Stephen Biko in detention, the regime unleashed a major crackdown against its opponents. On what is now known as Black Wednesday, leading black media voices like The World and Sunday World, its editor the late Percy Tseliso Peter Qoboza, a number of journalists and 19 organisations which belonged to the Black Consciousness Movement were banned. This repression of the media was intensified into the 1980s.

Following the advent of democracy in 1994, the rights to media freedom and freedom expression were entrenched in the Bill of Rights. Black Wednesday is now commemorated as Media Freedom Day.

This week Independent Media will host a series of webinars focusing on the ‘Building a media for the future’, ‘Media diversity and pluralism’ and ‘Who governs the fourth estate?’ to commemorate Media Freedom Day.

Webinar 1: Healing wounds, reflections on Black Wednesday Register here:

Webinar 2: Media diversity – Are the demographics of the country reflected?

Register here:

Webinar 3: Who governs the Fourth Estate – a focus on ethics and credibility

Register here:


By Staff Reporter 

Oct 17, 2020

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