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Assessing and promoting civil and minority rights in South Africa.

[Source: Mail & Guardian by Eusebius McKaiser.]

I got a call from a journalist who works for Al Jazeera. He wanted to get my opinion on perceptions that media freedom had been encroached upon more often in South Africa in the past six months or so than previously was the case.

The conversation was very productive and raised several issues that are worth ventilating fully. First, it is very hard to distinguish personal narratives and anecdote from objective reality.

Or, rather, I should be more precise. Personal experiences and anecdotal evidence are parts of objective reality. Nevertheless, one’s personal experiences can seem to be the experiences of everyone else and yet that conviction, once good aggregate data are collected, collated and critically examined, could turn out to be not the case.

So I am hesitant to opine without any fear of contradiction that media freedom has been trampled on more often in recent times than previously.

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South Africa at a Glance
57 700 000 (mid 2018 estimate)
4.9% y/y in September 2018 (CPI) & +6.2 y/y in September 2018 (PPI)
-0.7% q/q (2nd quarter of 2018)
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