The 3rd of May is celebrated worldwide as World Press Freedom day, as per the proclamation by the United Nations (UN) at its General Assembly in 1993, in line with Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This followed the 26th session of UNESCO General Conference in 1991, which adopted the Windhoek Declaration, a statement of principles calling for a free, independent and pluralistic media throughout the world.
The Declaration affirms that a free press is essential to the existence of democracy and a fundamental human goal. In the financial year 2013/14, as South Africa, we celebrated and marked 10 years of the Media Development and Diversity Agency (MDDA). This year, we are celebrating 20 years of freedom and democracy. Coupled with this celebration is 20 years of media freedom and diversity in South Africa, 20 years of the licensing of Community Radio in SA, 20 years of independent broadcasting regulation and 20 years of the National Association of Broadcasters (NABSA).
To mark this year's event, the MDDA will host a celebratory dialogue with the theme "Celebrating 20 years of media freedom and media diversity" at the GCIS, Tshedimosetso House, 1035 Frances Baard Street (corner Festival Street) Hatfield, Tshwane, commencing at 09h00. Reflecting on this milestone will be amongst others Deputy Minister in the Presidency Obed Bapela, Chairperson of the Parliamentary Committee on Communications, Skhumbuzo Eric Kholwane, former Minister in the Presidency and Editor of The Thinker Dr Essop Pahad, Commissioner of the Competition Commission Thembinkosi Bonakele and representatives from the industry. The MDDA will also release its research report on the Transformation of Print Media in South Africa conducted by Quest Research Services.
An opportunity exists for all South Africans to reflect on the key milestones achieved in the quest to achieve media freedom and celebrate the fundamental principles of media freedom enshrined in the Constitution Act of 1996, defend and protect media freedom, and pay tribute to media activists/journalists who lost their lives in the line of duty.
"The Media Development and Diversity Agency (MDDA) is a development agency for promoting media development and diversity, a partnership between the South African Government and major print and broadcasting media companies to assist in (amongst others) developing community and small commercial media, in terms of the MDDA Act No 14 of 2002.
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