Passing of Media Freedom Activist Libby Lloyd
The Board, staff and friends of SOS Support Public Broadcasting Coalition and Media Monitoring Africa are devastated by the untimely passing of Libby Lloyd (18 January).
She is known to many of us both personally and professionally as a dedicated media activist, a committed comrade, a magnificent policy analyst, and a thoughtful and caring friend. Both the country and our organisations have benefited from her commitment to media freedom and justice, and both our nation and our media sector are so much poorer for her loss.
Way back in 1989, as a young member of the Association of Democratic Journalists (ADJ), she was detained under the State of Emergency for supporting a protest against the banning of the “Weekly Mail”. In the early 1990s she was supporting the writing of policy and legislation for our brand new democracy. Through the next two decades her work continued to support action for media justice – through Radio Freedom, as an interim Board Member of the SABC, at the Media Development and Diversity Agency (MDDA), as a member of the ANC National Executive Committee (NEC) Subcommittee on Communications, at the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA), at the Institute for the Advancement of Journalism (IAJ), at the Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA), in supporting and mentoring young journalists, in the government’s ICT policy review, and through civil society structures promoting media and social justice. So, for example, Libby played a hugely supportive role at the launch of SOS, spending countless unpaid hours assisting and advising SOS with thoughtful research and advice. Libby’s book ‘Public Broadcasting in Africa Series: South Africa’ became SOS’s go-to ‘bible’ for policy advice.
Libby was a committed media activist to the end, having recently carried out work focused on subscription broadcasting. She will be missed for her depth and breadth of knowledge and experience, her willingness to support, her strident insights, her grasp of the sector and the challenges it is facing. And she will be missed for the heart and passion she brought to all her work.
Libby used to have a few common tells, or repeated expressions she would use when explaining something. They served to ensure both that you were following what she was saying and that there was more to come. So she would often say, “Ok?” at the end of each verbal section or, alternatively, “Do you know what I mean?” While still a smoker this gave her pause to take her next drag, and gave the listener the chance to digest. But before one could answer she would be away again. She was convincing and steadfast in her principles.
Libby made an amazing contribution to our communications and media policy sector and will be missed for her wisdom and humour. She joins the ranks of a small group of people who managed to not only be an active citizen and contribute to our democracy, but to live it, and fight every day to realise a better media sector for all. “Ok?” – better than ok, Libby, you are simply awe-inspiring.
May your soul rest in peace, dear Libby. We pass our deepest condolences to your family and friends, and we mourn with all those who were so genuinely touched by you and your work. And yes, Libby, we know what you mean…
Hambe Kahle Comrade and Friend.
For any further details or comments, please contact:
William Bird, MMA Director
Duduetsang Makuse, National Coordinator, SOS Coalition