Media awards support language diversity


AVBOB and the Forum of Community Journalists (FCJ) have introduced a new writing category in the esteemed AVBOB FCJ Excellence Awards to support media freedom in all official written languages in the country.

The new category serves as a platform for community journalists to express their talent in their linguistic heritage and to connect with audiences in meaningful ways. 

AVBOB, through its annual support of the awards for the past three years, acknowledges the role of community journalists in society and supports excellent journalism. The FCJ was launched in 1990 and aims to encourage excellence and reward meritorious work in community journalism.

“Supporting contributions from journalists in their vernacular languages allows them to express themselves more accurately and comfortably. The inclusion of vernacular languages is important for AVBOB since we operate in diverse communities in the country. We hope that the new category will open more opportunities in print media for participants,” said Adriaan Bester, General Manager: Corporate Affairs at AVBOB. 

“Prioritising vernacular languages is not new to AVBOB. Since the start of the AVBOB Poetry Competition in 2017, poets have been encouraged to submit work in their mother tongue. In the 2023 competition, 55% of all poems entered were written in South Africa’s vernacular languages,” added Bester.

The addition of vernacular languages reflects the FCJ's commitment to honouring linguistic diversity and promoting excellence in community journalism across South Africa. 

“At the FCJ, we recognise the power of language in shaping narratives and fostering community engagement,” said FCJ Executive Director Ben Burger.

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