The South African National Editors’ Forum (Sanef) says it is concerned that attacks on journalists are becoming commonplace in South Africa.

Sanef was reacting to news that two eNCA journalists were robbed at Khayelitsha in Cape Town.

Sanef says journalists also face cyber-bullying and severe attacks on social media.

The Editors’ Forum has marked Black Wednesday by appealing to community leaders and ordinary people to report the perpetrators to the police.

This year’s Black Wednesday theme is “The role of the media in the digital age. How far will it go in serving as the voice of the dispossessed and as a channel of change and real democracy?”

The day is remembered on the Wednesday closest to October 19 every year.

On that date in 1977, the apartheid regime banned World and Weekend World newspapers along with numerous black political organisations.

“Apartheid still clouds South Africans” 

While South Africa has gained freedom and liberation since the abolishment of the apartheid regime, many forms of oppression still linger in society today. That is according to acclaimed activist and author of The New Apartheid,  Dr Sizwe Mpofu-Walsh, who delivered the virtual 11th Annual Percy Qoboza Memorial Lecture on Tuesday.

Mpofu-Walsh says apartheid still clouds South Africans.

“Not to celebrate changes prematurely, and to recognise persistent injustices around that. Though much has changed since 1977, many of the forms of oppression that were designed have lingered. It’s no use telling us that we have the vote when all around us you see destitution, racialised poverty, gender inequality, and various legacies of apartheid. Until we are aggressive in tackling injustices, they will continue to wreak havoc on the dreams and hopes that we built through the mind, voices, and thoughts of the brave journalists that suffered oppression on this day 44 years ago.”

SABC commemorations 

The South African Broadcasting Corporation also joined the nation in commemorating Black Wednesday.

The SABC’s Group Executive for Corporate Affairs and Marketing, Gugu Ntuli, says Black Wednesday serves as a constant reminder of the vital role that media plays in society and in a democracy.

She says the SABC has been in existence for 85 years, operating under different regimes and has reinvented itself to serve South African citizens with the kind of journalism that is transformational and impactful.