Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan has praised the media, in all its forms, for the crucial role it plays in the development agenda and to ensuring citizens are informed.
Speaking at the national press club’s 40th-anniversary celebration at Leriba Lodge in Centurion on Thursday evening, Gordhan said the media should remain a watchdog and hold the powers that be accountable.
He commended the club for the role it had played over the past 40 years in encouraging journalists to take their role in society seriously and continue to expose corruption in government and private sector.
“The media has a key role to play in creating better awareness by enlightening and informing the public on issues that affect their everyday life,” he said.
Chairperson Jos Charle paid tribute to the men and women who, years ago, saw the need to establish what was known as the Pretoria Press Club.
In 1978, late journalist Bernadi Wessels, then at the Rand Daily Mail, came with the idea to start a press club in Pretoria from his travels abroad, similar to the Washington Press Club, with representatives from all media houses.
Together with colleagues and with the assistance of Joh Groenewald, the idea became reality.
Now, four decades later, the club meets monthly for networking and also holds regular evening discussions and news briefings.
“The National Press Club remains committed towards upholding professional standards in the industry, providing a platform and ensuring newsmakers are accessible to all media – including community media, ensuring that our members have a ‘down time’ from their hectic schedules via our various activities and making sure that our voice is heard in promoting media freedom,” said Charle.
The NPC will also continue its efforts to help improve community media through training and development in partnership with various like-minded organisations.
“As we start the next 40 years we would like to add our voice to the call for better working conditions for journalists and for them to be allowed to do their jobs without hindrance or any threat, while equally, we would urge colleagues to remain truthful, accurate and professional in their daily interactions,” said Charle.
Gordhan handed over the newsmaker of the year 2017 trophy to the amaBhungane centre for investigative journalism for their work into exposing the Gupta emails.
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