Message from Chairman Yusuf Abramjee

2011 will go down as a year of activism for the National Press Club.

There were many highlights- from hosting newsmakers to networking sessions.

But, the press club’s “Black Tuesday” campaign will go down in history as being a black day for free speech�a black day for freedom of expression�and a black day for media freedom.

The National Assembly voted in favour of the Protection of State Information Bill on Tuesday, 22 November.

We need to again stress that while most clauses within the proposed secrecy law are acceptable, we have serious concerns with some aspects. The lack of a public interest defence clause and harsh penalties are some of our major concerns.

The bill, if it becomes law, will not only infringe on our rights within the media. It will affect all South Africans.

The National Press Club marked “Black Wednesday” in October when we hosted the inaugural Percy Qoboza Memorial Lecture at UNISA. It was on this day many years ago when the apartheid government banned a number of publications and arrested editors.

“Black Tuesday” has many similarities to “Black Wednesday.”

Despite enjoying many freedoms, we will not stand back and watch our rights being trampled upon.

The National Press Club will continue to raise its voice. We will continue to stand up for what’s right and we will continue to make a difference.

We will continue to fight for a media freedom.

We thank our members for the loyal support. Thank you to the executive and the secretariat for constantly flying the flag of the press club. Our sponsors continue to be the ultimate partners. Thank you.

Have a safe festive season and if you are on the roads, please drive carefully.

There is no doubt that 2012 is going to be a busy year for all of us. We will continue to oppose any laws that will infringe on our rights. You can be assured that while we talk, engage, lobby and negotiate, we will continue with our activism.

The Newsmaker of the Year for 2011 will be announced in January and we can all again look forward to another enjoyable banquet. We will also award and reward outstanding journalism.

See you in 2012.

All the best.

Yusuf Abramjee
Chairman: National Press Club