Raymond Louw

Raymond Louw - zajournos

"The much more pressing issues are service delivery and the incompetence of local authorities.”

Mr Raymond Louw was born in Cape Town, South Africa, on the 13 of October 1926. His father’s name was George Karl Edward Finally and his mother’s name was Helen Finlay. Mr. Louw attended Parktown BHS in Johannesburg.

It is stated that Mr. Louw resides in South Africa and is currently employed at the Rand Daily Mail. ‘Mr. Press Freedom’ as he is also known as amongst his close work colleagues, travelled to Israel in 2001 and donned a protective vest for the first time in his life. Having sensed the ever increasing dangers of violence, hatred, army figures and the lingering cloud of never ending war, it made it harder to then produce a piece of writing.

He married Jean Ramsay Byres in the 1950’s and with which he has 2 sons and a daughter. With regards to recreational and entertaining activities, Mr. Louw enjoys travelling, of which he had recently travelled to Israel. Walking, sailing and game watching are also added to the list of activities.

Raymond Louw is Editor and publisher of the South African Report, a private circulation weekly current affairs newsletter, which was started in 1983. Prior to this, Louw had been the editor of the South African Associated Newspapers noted anti-Apartheid newspaper, the Rand Daily Mail, from 1966 - 1977. While riot-reporting for the “Mail”, where he started his journalism career, Louw was shot at. He then became the general manager of the South African Associated Newspapers. He later moved on to work for newspapers in Sussex, Cumbria and London, England and for six years at the Sunday Times in Johannesburg.
During the Apartheid era he headed the Media Defence Trust, set up to defend journalists, publications, film and video producers, broadcasters and authors against court action or other censorship practices.

Louw is currently the Deputy Chairperson of MISA (Media Institute of Southern Africa) and holds numerous positions in the media industry. He is the editor and Publisher of Southern Africa Report, a weekly current affairs briefing. He further acts as the Africa consultant for the World Press Freedom Committee, is a council member of the South African National Editor’s Forum and the Freedom of Expression Institute.

Louw is a general consultant on media, politics, and governmental affairs. He is actively campaigning, on behalf of several organizations, for the recognition of a free media in the New Economic Partnership for African Development (NEPAD) and African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM). He has made several interventions on behalf of endangered journalists and was successful in securing the release of at least two journalists, Pius Njawe (Cameroon, 1998) and Ali Lamrabet (Morocco 2004) who was detained under insult laws. Louw continues to make substantial contribution to media freedom in SADC and Africa.

The International press institution awarded Louw with the Fellow Award in 1994. He also won the Pringle Award For Service to Journalism both in 1976 as well as 1992.

While chairman of the Freedom of Expression Institute, Louw was appointed to the Independent Media Commission. Whilst in the Independent Media Commission Louw was to ensure that state broadcasting and state-financed publications were impartial in the run up to South Africa's first democratic elections in 1994. He was later appointed to a special Task Group on Government Communications to restructure the Apartheid government's propagandist division.

MISA (Media Institute of Southern Africa) awarded the 2005 MISA Press Freedom Award to South- Africa Based Editor and media freedom activist Raymond Louw this was in recognition of his tireless and prosperous campaigning for an enabling environment for media freedom and freedom of expression in our area. Raymond Louw was honoured at MISA’s annual general meeting in Windhoek in September 2005 where colleagues paid tribute to his lifelong career in media development and activism.

Louw can be recognised as the author or various reports on the media situation in South Africa for Unesco, in 1994. as well as the author of many different local and international articles and papers. However, his greatest and possibly largest writing achievement would be Man of the People: A photographic tribute to Nelson Mandela, which he co-authored with Benjamin Pogrund and Peter Magubane.

Raymond Louw has held various positions on various societies. He has been Chairman of both the New Era Schools Trust as well as the Freedom of Expression Institute. He is also an Executive Committee Member of the Freedom of Expression Institute and a member of the Executive Board International Press Institute.

Louw has fulfilled the role of Special Interventionist on Media Freedom Issues for the International Press Institute on numerous occasions in different countries, viz: Cameroon in 1998, Indonesia in 1999, Zimbabwe in 2001 and Israel in 2003. He was also a member of the Task Group on Government Communications in 1996, and the SA Independent Media Committee in 1994.

Louw took part in the media industry deputations to government ministers to protest restrictive press legislation and practices. He participated in special media freedom missions internationally, headed campaigns for independent broadcasting and continues to be involved in journalism training.

Louw has also taken part in humours voluntary activities, such as the Media Defence Fund, which he was apart of in the years of 1989 - 1996. As well as the Campaign for Open Media in 1985 to 1994.


With regards to the works of Mr. Louw, this included very powerful and influential material about the Apartheid Era. It was said that a lot of the work that he produced contained direct information about either the government and their activities or the goings on in and around South Africa. Louw is credited for making the "Rand Daily Mail" "the quality of newspaper it was," as editor of the publication from 1966 to 1977. He chaired the Campaign for Open Media (1985 to 1994) and has contributed significantly to the Freedom of Expression Institute, which he led for several years. He also chaired the Media Defence Trust (1988 to 1994), which funded journalists facing repression. In 1994, Louw was made a Fellow of the International Press Institute.

Louw continues to "fight the good fight." Today he's part of the South African chapter of the Media Institute of Southern Africa. He leads a battle against "insult laws" in African countries that deem criticism of their governments and leaders as a criminal offence. He has also been heavily involved in the South African National Editors' Forum campaign against unconstitutional apartheid era laws.



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