JOHANNESBURG– As the world observes World Press Freedom day on May 3, the press freedom in South Africa has been noted as “fragile”, according to the 2018 World Press Index issued by international non-governmental organization Reporters Without Borders, or Reporters Sans FrontiAres (RSF).

In a global ranking of 180 countries, South Africa was ranked 28th, with Norway taking first place as the most free country in the world where the media can freely report. South Africa’s rating has improved by three position from last year, when the country was ranked 31st.

The 2018 World Press Index noted that journalists in South Africa continued to be harassed when covering issues relating to the State .

South Africa’s 1996 Constitution protects the freedom of its very diverse media. However, apartheid-era legislation and the 2004 Terrorism Laws are used to limit coverage of government institutions when ‘national interest’ is supposedly at stake, notes the Index report.

The state of media freedom, according to the index, is in a ‘satisfactory situation. Compared with other African countries, South Africa, together with Namibia, Ghana and Burkina Faso, are the most highly ranked African countries in terms press freedom.

So far, in South Africa there has been no journalist killed for reporting in 2018 but a majority of the countries in Africa continued to experience noticeable problems and very serious situations as journalists had to report under difficult conditions.

The difficult conditions included murders and harassment of journalist.


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