Friday, 15 October 2021

Johannesburg: The South African National Editors Forum (Sanef) is celebrating 25 years of championing media freedom and will hold a fundraising dinner to mark this milestone today.

SANEF was born when two influential organisations united to build a formidable institution that was instrumental in the protection of media and the public’s right to know about the affairs of the country.

Imtiaz Sooliman, founder of the disaster relief organisation, Gift of the Givers, will deliver the keynote address, under the title, ‘The role and importance of independent journalism and active citizenry in a weak State’.

Sooliman was this week crowned the Social Justice Champion of 2021.

SANEF will also use the event to commemorate 44 years since the tragic events of 19 October 1977, when scores of journalists and black consciousness leaders were detained and banned by the apartheid regime in a desperate attempt to stop them from exposing atrocities by an oppressive regime against the people of the country.

“Today, the work of fearless people like Percy Qoboza, Don Mattera, Mathatha Tsedu, Joe Tlholoe and Aggrey Klaaste, to name a few, continues to inspire us that there is more to do as we seek to safeguard hard earned freedoms, like freedom of expression.

“We know of the current challenges faced by journalists, not only locally, but the world over. We are driven to continue doing and acceding to the organisation’s founding principles,” said Sbu Ngalwa, Sanef chairperson.

The fundraising dinner will also see the launch of a commemorative booklet marking Sanef’s 25th birthday. It documents the struggles, victories and challenges ahead for defenders of freedom.

“As Sanef, we are thankful to all those who continue to support the work Sanef does, anchored in Article 16 of the Constitution’s Bill of Rights that guarantees press freedom.

“We urge South Africans to continue being the first line of defence for our journalists and their work and underscoring that a free media is a critical tenet of a healthy democracy.” Sanef said in a statement.