For me personally, I’d like to think that media freedom and the threat thereof have been one of the highlights for this year. For example: there is now Zapiro vs. Zuma issue underway and just before that we had the successful Supreme Court of Appeal ruling in favouring the Mail & Guardian newspaper and giving the presidency seven days to issue the newspaper with the Zimbabwe report commission by former president Thabo Mbeki although this is likely to be challenged through the Constitutional Court.
When the newspaper won the first round – I then wrote in my blog quoting Mbeki during his inauguration of the South African National Editors Forum speech in 1996 when he said that “Press Freedom [in South Africa] was not under threat” after the High Court ruled in favour of M&G and gave it access to the World Cup tender documents from the 2010 World Cup LOC and this confidential Zimbabwe report. This ‘under threat’ is, I think, yet to be realized.
And then there was the Media Appeals Tribunal and the newly proposed Protection of Information Act which it has since been agreed that it has to be amended. And while at this – then came the Wikileaks cables, the arrest and harassment of the Sunday Times newspaper journalist (and many other journalists, their murder and detentions around the world: Zimbabwe, Ghana, etc) and of course yesterday reports that one of the Sunday Independent newspaper’s investigative journalists has been and continues to be spied on by some members of the Intelligence – an actual threat to press and media freedom in the country which is likely to be a reflection worldwide too.
And on a lighter note in as far as media threat and freedom is concerned I think the launch of The New Age newspaper – one that has been criticized by many in the industry and suspected to have some kindly of a political link, if not a direct hotline to the Presidency – was an indication that there still is a market out there which had since not be as extensively exhausted as many had thought.
World Cup comes second as I believe – and I think this has something to do with the fact that I am not a sporting person especially soccer (and “Don’t Ask, I won’t tell”) and the fact that I do not follow the sport at all – it had somewhat put Africa throughSouth Africabeing the hosting country on the map.
And these two highlights mentioned above are then followed by:
- The Congress of the People that was,
- Money-waster:Kunene’s R700, 000.00 or NYDA’s R69 million?
- Hate people but don’t let it show and keep it to yourself and that Public comments apply for winning any award in this country,
And these quickest and closest I could come to at the time of writing.
This is an edited response to Ashraf Garda asking our highlights for last year, 2010.