The media received a major boost when the Media Gallery in KwaZulu-Natal was opened yesterday.
The speaker of the KwaZulu-Natal legislature in Pietermaritzburg, Willies Mchunu, opened the R500000 state-of-the-art facility.
The gallery, which has 12 top-of-the-range laptop computer with Internet access, 12 leather seats, a printer, a fax machine, a phone line and a water cooler, will be used by local and international journalists.
Mchunu said the facility, paid for by the provincial legislature, was an investment in knowledge production and ideas.
"Our democracy can triumph only if our people receive and impart information freely.
"We want a robust media and a robust citizenry," Mchunu said.
"We must encourage public participation and facilitate public involvement in our law-making processes.
"We cannot succeed in this without an active, resourced media," he said.
Mchunu reminded journalists and the media in general that a democracy decayed when information was concealed and journalists were harassed.
"We remain convinced that democracy will remain stillborn if citizens are [kept in] ignorance and starved of vital information, insights and updates on the progress or otherwise of the work of those they entrusted with their votes," he said.