Last night, Wednesday, 25 April 2007, at the sixth annual Mondi Shanduka Awards ceremony in Sandton, the newspaper industry not only celebrated the excellence of the newspaper industry as a whole, but paid homage to Raymond Louw, the 2007 recipient of the Mondi Shanduka Lifetime Achievement Award.
Raymond Louw receives the Mondi Shanduka Lifetime Achiever Award
Under the banner ‘Weapons of Mass Discussion’ and hosted by Mondi Shanduka Newsprint and the Newspaper Association of South Africa, the 2006 Mondi Shanduka Newspaper Awards honoured the finest that SA newspaper journalism has to offer.
From the nominations received for the Lifetime Achievement Award, those for Raymond Louw, veteran journalist and editor, impressed the judges the most. Born in 1926, 'Oom Ray' is described as a South African media warhorse, an arch-lobbyist and an inspiration to many, making this ‘soldier of journalism’ a deserving candidate.
The octogenarian’s resolute and exemplary passion for the media, which he expressed boldly over his 60 years in print journalism and press freedom advocacy, earned Louw this premier award.
“Long before many of today’s journalists were born, he was already fighting the good fight. In the 1970s, his decade-long editorship of the Rand Daily Mail (1966 - 1977) was central to making the publication the quality of newspaper it was,” said the judges’ statement, compiled by convenor Professor Guy Berger, head of media studies and the school of journalism at Rhodes University.
Leading the battle
Today Louw is leading a battle against 'insult laws' in African countries that deem criticism of their governments and leaders as a criminal offence.
Louw chaired the Campaign for Open Media 1985 - 1994 and has contributed significantly to the Freedom of Expression Institute (FXI), which he led for several years. He also chaired the Media Defence Trust (1988 to 1994) which funded journalists facing repression, and today he is part of the South African Chapter of the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA-SA) and a trustee at the Institute for the Advancement of Journalism.
He has also devoted much time and energy to the South African National Editors’ Forum, (SANEF) especially in its campaign against unconstitutional apartheid era laws.
Very much an active journalist, Louw edits the South Africa Report, thus continuing a career that began as a copyholder at the Rand Daily Mail back in 1944.
Louw has twice received the Pringle Medal from the South African Society of Journalists, and in 1994 was made a Fellow of the International Press Institute. The Misa-SA 2005 Media Freedom Award was conferred on him, and he last year received SANEF’s Stephen Wrottesley Award.
Previous winners of the Mondi Shanduka Lifetime Achievement Award are David Hazelhurst (2006) and the late Dr Aggrey Klaaste (2005).
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