INDABA Newsletter | December 2017

Thank you and all the best for 2018

On behalf of the executive committee (exco) of the National Press Club, I am pleased to wish you and your family a peaceful, joyful and safe Christmas period and a New Year filled with success, good health and happiness.

We are saying goodbye to a challenging year, with the hope that the dawn of 2018 will bring us better joy and progress as a club. We hope and trust that the financial difficulties we experienced this year will be a thing of the past in the coming year.

I can assure you the exco is working hard to find ways to mitigate the difficulties we are experiencing due to a lack of sponsorship.

It is with this in mind that I invite all members to – wherever possible – help us source potential sponsors to help the club successfully execute its programmes. Contact me or the secretariat should you have any ideas.

We also welcome any ideas about how to ensure our club remains relevant, exciting and progressive.

So, as we end this year, I trust we can always rely on your support, and to this end, may I urge all of us to bring our dues up to date. Thank you for being a loyal, dedicated member.

Be blessed and stay safe.

Jos Charle
Chairman, National Press Club,

Looking back on 2017

It has been a busy year for the National Press Club. As we look ahead to our 40th anniversary next year, we take stock of this year’s events.

Thank you to all our hosts and sponsors who made 2017 a success! We started off the year with a networking forum hosted by the National Zoological Gardens and, most recently, Freedom Park hosted our last networking session of the year.

Highlights included networking events hosted by Denel, Fines4U, the SA Council for Project and Construction Management Professionals, the Health Professions Council of SA, Sanofi (who hosted our AGM in May), Leriba Hotel, the Council for Medical Schemes and North West University.

Our flagship event, the Percy Qoboza memorial lecture in partnership with UNISA, was presented by Percy’s son Vusi Qoboza on the 40th anniversary on Black Wednesday in October.

In honour of the centenary of OR Tambo, the National Press Club in association with GCIS hosted a panel discussion on media freedom and how OR Tambo contributed to media freedom in South Africa on 20 September. Panelists included Sam Mkokeli, Thami Ntenteni, Linda Vilakazi and Dr Kingsley Makhubela.

Discussion evenings were hosted on the topics of the National Consumer Tribunal, debt collection in South Africa (the Council for Debt Collectors), Aids research in communities (by Epicentre Aids Risk Management), Russia in today’s world (by the Embassy of the Russian Federation in SA) and how to cover protests (by journalists).

Other highlights included media briefings by Tshwane Mayor Solly Msimanga as well as President of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU), Joseph Mathunjwa. We also covered subjects during media briefings such as the state of the South African Post Office, shale gas fracking in the Karoo, South Africa’s renewable energy independent power producer procurement programme, the Ford Kuga saga, corruption in construction registrations and consumer complaints and outcomes.

We look forward to celebrating our 40 years of existence in August 2018 with our members! We will announce our first events for the new year soon. #WatchThisSpace

Record number of journalists imprisoned globally

A record number of journalists remain imprisoned throughout the world for their work, the annual census by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) finds. In Africa, Egypt and Eritrea top the list, along with Turkey and China.

This is the second year in a row that the number of journalists imprisoned for their work hit a historical high, as the United States and other Western powers failed to pressure the world’s worst jailers, namely, Turkey, China and Egypt, into improving the bleak climate for press freedom, CPJ found.

As of 1 December 2017, CPJ found 262 journalists behind bars around the world in relation to their work, an increase on last year’s historical high of 259. Turkey is again the worst jailer, with 73 journalists imprisoned for their work as the country continues its press freedom crackdown.

China and Egypt again take the second and third spot, with 41 and 20 cases respectively. The worst three jailers are responsible for jailing 134 (51%) of the total.

“In a just society, no journalist should ever be imprisoned for their work and reporting critically, but 262 are paying that price,” said CPJ executive director, Joel Simon. “It is shameful that for the second year in a row, a record number of journalists are behind bars. Countries that jail journalists for what they publish are violating international law and must be held accountable.

“The fact that repressive governments are not paying a price for throwing journalists in jail represents a failure of the international community.”

Covering politics “most dangerous”

According to CPJ’s census 194 journalists, or 74%, are imprisoned on anti-state charges, many under broad or vague terror laws. In Turkey, every journalist on the census is either accused of or charged with anti-state crimes.

Although many journalists cover multiple beats, politics was the most dangerous, covered by 87% of those jailed. Nearly all the jailed journalists are local and the percentage of freelancers is higher this year, accounting for 29% of cases.

Other leading jailers of journalists in 2017 are: Eritrea, with 15 cases; and Azerbaijan and Vietnam, with 10 cases each.

The international community has done little to isolate repressive countries and US President Donald Trump’s nationalistic rhetoric and insistence on labeling critical media “fake news”, serves to reinforce the framework of accusations and legal charges that allow such leaders to preside over the jailing of journalists. CPJ’s 2017 census found the number of journalists jailed for “false news” doubled this year, to 21 cases.

Poor prison conditions is another issue this year, with two journalists jailed in China, including Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo, dying just weeks after being released on medical parole, and several others seriously ill. In Egypt, CPJ found over half of the jailed journalists have health conditions.

Missing journalists

The prison census accounts only for journalists in government custody and does not include those who have disappeared or are held captive by non-state groups, such as several Yemeni journalists CPJ believes to be held by the Ansar Allah movement, known as the Houthis.

These cases are classified as “missing” or “abducted.” CPJ has been conducting an annual survey of journalists in jail since the early 1990s.

CPJ’s list is a snapshot of those incarcerated at 12:01am on December 1, 2017. It does not include the many journalists imprisoned and released throughout the year; accounts of those cases can be found at Journalists remain on CPJ’s list until the organisation determines with reasonable certainty that they have been released or have died in custody.


Time names sexual abuse ‘Silence Breakers’ as Person of the Year

Time magazine named as Person of the Year “the silence breakers” who triggered a national reckoning by revealing the pervasiveness of sexual harassment, assault and abuse in US life.

President Donald Trump was runner-up in the prestigious ranking, ahead of his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping.

Time designated as “silence breakers” the individuals, mostly women, who came forward this year to publicly expose patterns of sexual harassment, assault and even rape by some of society’s most powerful public figures.

Those recognised by Time range from famous actresses who took on disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein to ordinary women who shared their stories of abuse using the hashtag #MeToo and its foreign language equivalents.

The accusations against Weinstein, who has denied wrongdoing, proved a tipping point for a flood of sordid revelations involving other titans of Hollywood, big business, politics and the news media.

Many once-admired leaders in their fields have been fired or suspended, their brilliant careers in tatters.

One of the figures singled out by Time, Ashley Judd was the first actress to come forward on the record to make accusations against the 65-year-old Weinstein.

Silence breakers

She was followed by more than a hundred others, and a watershed moment began.

“When a movie star says #MeToo, it becomes easier to believe the cook who’s been quietly enduring for years,” a Time article read.

“This reckoning appears to have sprung up overnight. But it has actually been simmering for years, decades, centuries.

“These silence breakers have started a revolution of refusal, gathering strength by the day, and in the past two months alone, their collective anger has spurred immediate and shocking results: nearly every day, CEOs have been fired, moguls toppled, icons disgraced. In some cases, criminal charges have been brought.”

‘Complicity machine’ report

The Person of the Year announcement came as The New York Times published a report detailing a widespread ‘complicity machine’ of powerful relationships that enabled Weinstein to silence or intimidate his accusers for years.

Weinstein has denied via his lawyers and spokespeople that he engaged in any non-consensual behaviour. He has not been charged with any crimes, though investigations have been launched in London, Los Angeles and New York.

A number of men also have revealed they were victims of sexual abuse, including Anthony Rapp, who accused Oscar-winning actor Kevin Spacey of making sexual advances on him when he was a teenager.

More than a dozen men have since come forward with similar accusations against Spacey, some of whom were teens at the time of the alleged abuse.

On Time‘s cover is a composite group photograph featuring Judd, along with singer Taylor Swift and ex-Uber engineer Susan Fowler.

#MeToo: Powerful accelerant

“The galvanising actions of the women on our cover… along with those of hundreds of others, and of many men as well, have unleashed one of the highest-velocity shifts in our culture since the 1960s,” Time editor-in-chief Edward Felsenthal said in a statement.

Calling #MeToo a “powerful accelerant,” Felsenthal noted that the hashtag has been used millions of times in at least 85 countries.

“The idea that influential, inspirational individuals shape the world could not be more apt this year,” Felsenthal said.

“For giving voice to open secrets, for moving whisper networks onto social networks, for pushing us all to stop accepting the unacceptable, The Silence Breakers are the 2017 Person of the Year.”

Time has designated an individual or group who has most influenced the year’s news and events as Person of the Year since 1927.

Source: AFP

Thank you for paying membership fees

Thank you to those press club members who have paid their membership fees for 2017.

However, a large number of members have not yet paid their fees and we appeal to them to do so.

Membership fees are R300 for full members and R500 for associate members.

Members are requested to use their surname as reference when payment is done, so that it can be picked up easily by the secretariat.

Contact the secretariat on if you are unsure about your payment status.


Please send any news, suggestions or information for this newsletter to Martin van Niekerk at the secretariat on, 082 257 0305. Website | Facebook | Twitter