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National Press Club - North-West University Journalist of the Year awarded

23 March 2012

Barry Bateman of Eyewitness News is the National Press Club - North-West University Journalist of the Year for 2011.

Bateman was awarded for his perseverance, notion for factually correct reporting and for working under tremendous deadline pressure. His tenacity with the story on the Tshwane Metro Police used of vehicles with false number plates is a prime example of excellence in journalism.

The awards were made at the National Press Club - Aon South Africa Newsmaker of the Year awards in Pretoria tonight.

Thabiso Thakali of the Saturday Star is the print news category journalist of the year for his portfolio of outstanding journalism.

Jane Vorster of YOU magazine won the print features category for the first-ever face-to-face interview with Pieter Dirk-Uys and Evita Bezuidenhout - he/she normally only answers written questions.

Craig Nieuwenhuizen of Foto24 won the photography category for his picture of a policeman rescuing a child during the eviction of people from the Schubart Park flats in Pretoria.

Thebeetsile Keameditse of the SABC won the radio features journalist of the year category for his articles on electronic banking in rural areas and modernised circumcision.

Lirandzu Themba of e.tv is the winner in the TV news category for the unbiased reporting on the eviction of the Schubart Park flats in Pretoria.

Odette Schwegler and Nicola de Chaud of Carte Blanche are joint winners in the category for television features with their reporting on baby brokering and the investigation of malpractices of the Johannesburg fire chief.

Tutuko Zondi of e.tv is the television cameraperson of the year for an excellent portfolio, including 'The Indian vote" in Kwazulu-Natal.

Taurai Maduna of Eyewitness News won the online category for the reporting on the abuse of platinum workers on the Johannesburg East Rand.

Mandy Wiener, also of Eyewitness News won the category for social media for her reporting on the Selebi case.

McIntosh Polela of the Hawks was named the Media Liaison Officer of the Year for his interactive and professional interaction with the media.

Nic Dawes, Editor of the Mail & Guardian was awarded as the Editor of the Year for his uncompromising stance on excellence and his commitment to the fight for media freedom.

The inaugural National Press Club Proudly South African award in conjunction with Proudly SA was jointly awarded to the SABC for their programme Touching Lives and Primedia's Lead SA.

The National Press Club - North-West University overall Journalist of the Year won R10 000 while each category winner received R5 000 each, sponsored by the North-West University.

The entries were judged by a panel of various independents experts and academics.

Charles Naudé is a media consultant, Cornia Pretorius is a senior lecturer in journalism at the School of Communication Studies at North-West University and Gilbert Mokwatedi is a communications practitioner at Unisa. Peter Morey has been running his own photographic studio for the last 16 years after working as a photographer at the Pretoria News for many years and Marion Scher is an award winning freelance journalist, writing for many of South Africa's major consumer publications.

Natalia Rosa works at Africa's largest travel trade publisher, Now Media, as managing editor of Travel News Weekly and Southern African Tourism Update. Pluto Panoussis is a lecturer at the Open Window School for Visual Communication and Tshamano Makhadi is a multi-award winning South African journalist.

Theuns Eloff, Vice Chancellor of North-West University says if the awards can assist in further improving the quality of journalism in the country, it will have served its purpose.

"However, the university shares the concern held by all journalists that the Protection of State Information Bill might have serious implications on the freedom of information and the freedom of journalists' freedom. We care about our democracy and our expensive freedom. We already see the impact of the Bill on our international reputation, and share your unease about the weakened position of South Africa on the Reporters without Borders scale, falling from position 33/179 in 2009, to 39/172 in 2010 and to 42/179 in 2011 on the freedom-of-press scale.

"Moreover, we request government to reconsider the language and rhetoric of the current debates on the flow of information. Expressions like 'national security' sound very similar to the language of the apartheid government and are not compatible with the new democratic ethos and its values of freedom, equality and human dignity that we want to see realised in all facets of life in South Africa.

"Despite all this, we are fortunate to be involved in this highly-respected event. We congratulate all the winners and trust that our contribution adds to the ongoing roll of excellence currently evident on the South African media scene," said Eloff.

Read the address by Yusuf Abramjee, Chairman of the National Press Club

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