This year’s Media Freedom Festival is of particular significance given the important role media will play in the National South African elections in the coming months. For this reason, Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) and the SABC will host the Media Freedom Festival from 18 – 20 October 2023 in Auckland Park, Johannesburg. The festival will also commemorate Black Wednesday and National Press Freedom Day celebrated annually on 19 October. The three-day festival will engage media practitioners, legal minds and civil society on pertinent issues related to media freedom, the impact of artificial intelligence on journalism, hate speech amongst others.

William Bird, Director at MMA, says, “Media freedom sits at the heart of democracy and needs to be fiercely protected and promoted. In an ever-evolving technology environment, where social media and digital tools are on the rise, it is important that we critically unpack the ramifications these have for media.”

During the festival, MMA will launch the latest version of its Real411 online application (app). The app, which is available for free to the public, is a tool aimed at fighting disinformation online. Bird says, this is especially crucial for the upcoming elections season. “MMA has been monitoring media coverage of the elections since its inception 30 years ago. To mark our anniversary and in response to modern challenges, we saw it fit to find ways to empower the public with tools to promote credible news sources online and enable voters to make informed decisions at the polls.”

Mmoni Seapolelo, Acting Group Executive for Corporate Affairs and Marketing at the SABC, says that various media personalities from the SABC will facilitate discussions at the festival which will also be covered on various SABC platforms, “As the public broadcaster, it was important for us to join this initiative as a partner, to mark these historical events on the South African media calendar. We are committed to amplifying these discussions to ensure that wider audiences can also participate in this festival and look forward to what promises to be an insightful event.” The festival is open to the public with each day consisting of morning and evening sessions themed around different topics. The public are encouraged to RSVP for the event to attend in person or to follow the discussions online.

For more information and media enquiries, please contact:

Nomshado Nkosinkulu, 011 788 12 778, or

About Media Monitoring Africa (MMA):

Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) is a leading organisation dedicated to promoting ethical and fair journalism in South Africa. MMA actively monitors media coverage, advocates for human rights, and works to hold media outlets accountable for their reporting practices. Through research, advocacy, and engagement, MMA strives to create a more inclusive and equitable media landscape in South Africa.