The Gupta Leaks were named the 2017 National Press Club Newsmaker of the Year and the recipient of the award is the amaBhungane Centre for Investigative Journalism.
This annual award, made by the press club since 1980, awards a newsmaker in a calendar year based on the amount of media coverage received as well as the impact thereof. Nominations and motivations are received from members of the press club and a final decision is made by the executive committee of the club. The National Press Club is the largest club of its kind in South Africa, representing working journalists.
“The newsmaker award is neither an accolade nor is it criticism – it represents the dominant themes of the 2017 news cycle,” club chairman Jos Charle says.
The amaBhungane Centre for Investigative Journalism is a non-profit company founded in 2010 by Sam Sole and Stefaans Brümmer. AmaBhungane is isiZulu for Dung Beetles.
“The decision to name the Gupta Leaks as the newsmaker was not an easy one as we saw so many different themes in the 2017 news cycle,” says Charle.
The Gupta Leaks are a set of data disclosed from within the heart of the Gupta family empire. They consist of between 100 000 and 200 000 emails which reveal how the family does business and their engagements with the State and politicians.
AmaBhugane played a vital role in securing, analysing, and disseminating a vast amount of crucial information. In the process they partnered with other media entities, such as Daily Maverick and News24, to make the information public.
“It was a huge responsibility that amaBhungane dealt with in an admirable way. It was an enourmous task, but they packaged the information in a way that it made sense to ordinary South Africans,” Charle says.
The Gupta Leaks made an unprecedented impact on the South African news scene and will continue to dominate news headlines.
“The Gupta Leaks was a game changer in our country’s history and will still feature in parliamentary enquiries, court cases and the judicial commission of enquiry into state capture”.
Another strong contender for the 2017 Newsmaker of the Year was: the ANC, its 54th elective conference and presidential candidates Cyril Ramaphosa and Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.
The National Press Club is synonymous with the Newsmaker of the Year award. Over the years the club has recognised many newsmakers. Previous recipients include President Jacob Zuma, former presidents Nelson Mandela, FW de Klerk and Thabo Mbeki and Hollywood star Charlize Theron and #FeesMustFall. Last year the award went to state capture, President Jacob Zuma, the Gupta family and Advocate Thuli Madonsela.
The annual Newsmaker of the Year function is expected to take place in Pretoria later this year.
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