Press freedom guaranteed but fragile
South Africa’s 1996 constitution protects press freedom. An investigative journalism culture is well established but apartheid-era legislation and terrorism laws are used to limit coverage of governments institutions when “national interest” is supposedly at stake. The state security agency spies on some journalists and taps their phones. Others are harassed and subjected to intimidation campaigns if they try to cover certain subjects involving the ruling ANC, government finances, the redistribution of land to the black population or corruption. The opposition Economic Freedom Fighters party was given a high court warning in 2019 because of its invective and hate speech against journalists. It is not unusual for journalists, especially women journalists, to be mocked, insulted and even threatened on social media, sometimes by politicians or their supporters.
31 in 2019
22.19 in 2019