By AKANI CHAUKE
JOHANNESBURG– AS the world marked Press Freedom Day today, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa denounced the intimidation of journalists in the country. He was writing in his weekly letter to the nation, which on Monday coincided with the World Press Freedom Day. The intimidation of journalists has been rife as South Africa reels from corruption.
“The South African media has played a pivotal role in uncovering much of what we know today about the true extent of capture of the State by self-serving, corrupt individuals and entities,” Ramaphosa said. He said media was crucial as the country emerges from the coronavirus pandemic. “At a time when we are working together to rebuild our economy and our society in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic, a robust media is more critical than ever,” Ramaphosa said.
Reporters Without Borders published the 2021 World Press Freedom Index highlighting that journalism is ‘totally blocked or seriously impeded’ in 73 countries and ‘constrained’ in 59 others. South Africa ranked 32nd out of 180 countries. The index describes the state of media freedom in South Africa as guaranteed but fragile.’
Ramaphosa’s government emphasised the importance of media in sharing credible information with the public. “In an era of instant information sharing, as well as the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for trustworthy and fact checked news for public good is crucial,” Government Communication and Information System Director General, Phumla Williams, said. – CAJ News