President Ramaphosa named 2018 Newsmaker of the Year

Friday, August 2, 2019

President Cyril Ramaphosa has been named the National Press Club 2018 Newsmaker of the Year.

The annual ceremony, run by the National Press Club since 1980, awards a newsmaker in a calendar year based on the amount of media coverage received as well as the impact thereof.

The President was honoured at a glittering ceremony on Friday night at Freedom Park in Tshwane. Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu accepted the award on behalf of the President.

National Press Club chairperson Ntando Makhubu said the decision to name President Ramaphosa as the newsmaker was an easy one as his election as President, the ‘New Dawn’, ‘Ramaphoria’ and ‘Thuma Mina’ dominated the 2018 news cycle.

“All eyes have been on President Ramaphosa as he navigates a damaged State and a fractious political environment that includes cabinet reshuffles, State capture, corruption as well as failing State-owned enterprises,” Makhubu said.

Accepting the award on behalf of the President, Mthembu said the media under apartheid was and still is under the Constitutional Democracy a powerful institution and provides for important platforms of communication.

“It has tremendous power and influence - not just in South Africa, but on the world stage. Media, including social media, has the power to influence our thinking, attitude and behaviour. Media must and should also welcome investigative journalism, courage and commitment to expose corruption, wrongs, bad, rights, good and the truth through accurate, factual and fair reporting.

“It is against this appreciation that our government enacted a number of legislations to give meaning and effect to the noble ideals enshrined in our Constitution, ranging from the Independent Broadcasting Authority Act (now repealed and replaced by the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa Act), Broadcasting Act, Electronic Communications Act, Promotion of Administrative Justice Act, Media Development and Diversity Agency Act, amongst others,” Mthembu said.

Mthembu appealed to all media, particularly print media, to also join government in supporting transformative activities, especially as this relates to community and small commercial media.

Mthembu used the occasion to draw attention to the important role of community media, which is owned and control by communities. He said it empowers citizen’s voices and creates democratic platforms of two-way communication, which have been enabled by the democratic government.

This was done through the establishment of establishments like the Media Development and Diversity Agency and other support structures.

As South Africa celebrates 25 years of democracy, Mthembu said the country now has more than 200 licensed community radio stations, a few community televisions stations, and community and small commercial newspapers servicing a significant readership, viewership and listenership.

Supporting the SABC

Mthembu called on South Africans to support the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) as it goes through tough times. 

“As the public at large, we must support its strengthening and acknowledge the reversal of wrongs that took place, and protect it to reposition itself to continue to serve this noble public service mandate in the digital era. –