South Africa’s Ray of Hope
How South Africa outperforms other leading emerging economies for press freedom.
- South Africa is the best performer among the poorer G-20 nations when it comes to press freedom.
- Threats to journalists can come from many sources (militias and gangs), not just official repression.
- Journalists in South Africa have broad constitutional protections under the post-Apartheid reforms.
1. South Africa is ranked 39th worldwide out of 180 according to the 2016 Reporters Without Borders’ annual Press Freedom Index.
2. This makes South Africa by far the best performer among the poorer nations of the G-20.
3. Journalists there have broad constitutional protections under the post-Apartheid reforms.
4. Unfortunately, some legacy laws have allowed government officials or police to abuse to censor or arrest journalists.
5. Even so, the 2016 ranking is a return to form for South Africa after a brief decline around 2013, which had pushed the country out of the top 50 for the first time.
6. At the time, investigative journalism had come under threat due to the government’s Protection of State Information Bill.
7. Threats to journalists worldwide can come from many sources (such as militias and gangs), not just official repression.
8. Governments need to play a strong role to assure the physical safety of the journalists.
9. Governments also need to provide a strong legal framework that allows journalists to perform their job without fear of legal reprisal.
10. Those legal protections must be backed up and enforced by a fair and independent judicial system.
Sources: Reporters Without Borders, The Globalist Research Center