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Daily Maverick Politics

Is freedom of the press that important?

The original text of my most recent column for The Daily Maverick:

As Opinionista Sipho Hlongwane reminded us on World Press Freedom Day, not only is the extent of press freedom a matter for debate, but much also still needs to be done in terms of bringing the benefits of a free press to most South Africans. This is not simply a matter of what goes unreported, or even of the potential stifling of a free press via intimidation of journalists or other forms of political interference. These are important concerns, but ones which presume an interest – as well as the ability – on the part of South Africans to equally engage with the issues discussed.

Our concerns should go deeper, in that for a developing country such as ours, the focus should perhaps more appropriately be on whether most South Africans have anything to say at all.