‘Media repression affects economic growth’

Source: ‘Media repression affects economic growth’ – DailyNews Live

Ndakaziva Majaka in Durban      9 June 2017

DURBAN – The World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers
(Wan-ifra) outgoing president, Tomas Brune, said Africa’s economic growth
is declining due to governments’ interference with media freedom.

“While some countries on the continent have been recording impressive
growth rates, media development and evolution still leaves a lot to be
desired,” Brune told delegates at the 2017 World News Congress and World
Editors Forum yesterday.

“The disadvantage with this is that taking the media’s voice away affects
economic growth . . . We also see the manifestation of this in prohibitive
pieces of legislation like South Africa’s Cybercrimes and Cybersecurity
Bill which will affect the independence of journalists and operations of a
free press.

“I am aware other countries on the continent have similar legislation
plans and this is an assault to press freedom,” he added.

With the planned passage of a bill which threatens press freedom in South
Africa looming, Zimbabwe also has its Computer Crime and Cyber Crime Bill
in the pipeline.

The country’s Information Communication and Technology minister Supa
Mandiwanzira is on record saying Zimbabwe is going to fast track the bills
following the global WannaCry ransomware attacks last month.

The new law – which has attracted concerns from activists and opposition –
will allow police to confiscate electronic equipment and raid broadband

Also empowering police to intercept private communications, search and
seize any “electronic gadgets,” the law will also send any “abusers” to
jail for five years.

“Not only are such laws an assault on the right to digital privacy, but
Wan-idea has expressed its deep concern that the government here is
considering a range of measures that will intimidate the press, promote
self-censorship,” the outgoing Wan-ifra president said.

Meanwhile, Turkish journalist and former editor-in-chief of Cumhuriyet
newspaper, Can Du:ndar, received Wan-ifra’s prestigious Golden Pen of

The exiled scribe was recognised for his outstanding work in upholding the
values of a free press along with his unwavering support for colleagues,
some 150 of whom are currently in jail in his country.

On the side-lines Women in News bestowed the editor of NMG-owned The
EastAfrican newspaper, Pamela Sittoni, with the Women in News 2017
Editorial Leadership Award alongside Egypt’s Karima Kamal, a columnist and
contributing editor for the Egyptian daily Al Masry Al Yom, who was named
the 2017 laureate for the Middle East and North Africa (Mena).

The award is part of Wan-ifra’s Gender and Media Freedom strategy, being
spearheaded through support from the Swedish International Development
Cooperation Agency (Sida).