Today, 37 years ago, SA Prime Minister announced appointment of commission of inquiry into Mass Media

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The Steyn Commission was the official Commission of Inquiry into the Mass Media by the apartheid government in the 1970s.

The Nationalist Party (NP) Government was rejected by opposition parties in 1979, leading to the appointment of the Steyn Commission.

The Commission was appointed to inquire into the line between the rights of the media to inform and the right of the public to be informed, on the one hand, and the interests of the security of the state on the other.

In 1979 the NP government had clamped down on media organisations considered hostile to the government.

In October 1977, newspapers that were seen to be critical of the NP Government’s policies had been banned along with 19 Black Consciousness Movement (BCM) formations.

This left a vacuum in which existing newspapers were wary of publishing material that was damaging to government, lest they too were banned.

Source: South African History Online

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