Friday, May 03, 2024

SA ranked twenty-fifth out of 180 countries in the World Press Freedom index - Reporters without Borders

‘’Your voice is free, keep it that way.’’ World Press Freedom Day in 2024 is centered around the importance of journalism and freedom of expression in the context of the current global environmental crisis.

According to the United Nations (UN), the climate and biodiversity crisis are not only affecting the environment and ecosystems but also the lives of billions of people around the world.

‘’Their stories of upheaval and loss deserve to be known and shared. They are not always pretty to watch. They can even be disturbing. But it's only by knowing that action is possible. Exposing the crisis is the first step to solving it,’’ read the statement.

‘’That's why the role of journalists is crucial. It is through their work, their courage and their perseverance that we can know what is happening across the planet.  They work on the frontlines of our collective fight for the health of our planet and our struggle for livable lives. On this World Press Freedom Day, let’s recognize and celebrate their work in helping us shape a better future,’’ said the UN.

South Africa is ranked twenty-fifth out of 180 countries in the World Press Freedom index by Reporters without Borders, which was released on Friday – an increase in ten places up from 2023’s position of 35. The index measures how free journalists are to do their job in a particular country. Number one was Norway and last was North Korea. In Africa, the best country was Namibia (22), and the worst was Eritrea.

Meanwhile, the South African National Editors’ Forum (SANEF) condemned the attacks on journalists by some political parties, law enforcement agencies, and some communities.

‘’There has been a growing trend of online threats targeting journalists, especially women journalists, using hate speech, death threats, and threats of physical harm. There have been trends of trolling and doxing, (the act of disclosing a journalist’s full name, address, contact number, and other identifying details without their consent). Threats to women journalists have also been pervasive, including attacks and threats on journalists’ families, death threats, and threats of rape. We also note concerns about the surveillance of journalists by state intelligence as well as overly punitive legislation that targets journalists or limits their ability to report in all media platforms,’’ said SANEF in a statement.

As a community organisation, Bush Radio exists to serve the community. On 25 April 2024, Bush Radio marked its 31st anniversary of illegal broadcast, which forced the issue of community broadcasting onto the legislative agenda in South Africa and paved the way for the airwaves to be opened and the development of a community radio sector.

Done By: Mitchum George

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