The National Press Club and the Department of Communication Science at Unisa will present the third annual Percy Qoboza memorial lecture on Wednesday, 16 October.
This year the lecture will be delivered by media stalwart, Director in the Press Council and previous Press Ombudsman, Joe Thloloe. The theme will be: The Protection of State Information Bill: is this the end of media freedom?
Tanya de Vente-Bijker, Deputy Chairperson of the press club says media freedom continues to be an important topic in South Africa, as well as on the African continent and the rest of the world. “We cannot talk enough about the importance of media freedom. And we will continue to fight for a society in which the media can be a true watchdog,” she says.
The lecture will be followed by a panel discussion by media experts including Katy Katopodis, Editor in Chief at Eyewitness News, Julie Reid, a media academic and activist, Moshoeshoe Monare, Editor of the Sunday Independent and Dennis Dlomo, Coordinator of Intelligence: National Intelligence Coordinating Committee.
“Apart from honouring one of South Africa’s most renowned newspaper editors, this annual lecture helps to strengthen the pillars of democracy � freedom of speech and freedom of the media � to ensure that Black Wednesday never happens again,” says de Vente-Bijker.
On 19 October 1977 the apartheid regime banned the newspapers The World and Weekend World, declared 19 Black Consciousness organisations illegal and detained scores of activists. The newspapers’ editors, Percy Qoboza and Aggrey Klaaste and other journalists were arrested and jailed.
This day has since been commemorated in South Africa as ‘Black Wednesday’ and is also marked as National Press Freedom Day.