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CAPE TOWN - The South African National Editors’ Forum (Sanef) on Wednesday said it was saddened by the death of media legend and council member Raymond Louw and his wife Jean.

Louw, 92, died on Wednesday, within 24 hours after his wife’s death.

Louw was a journalist, editor and media commentator. He was the winner of numerous national and international media freedom awards. In 2011 he was named a “World Press Freedom Hero” by the Vienna-based International Press Institute. The award acknowledged his “commitment to press freedom and his outspoken defence of journalist rights”.

Sanef founder member Mary Papayya said: “He was with us from the beginning as Sanef and made significant contributions to the call to end punitive legislation against media freedom. He was always at the round tables on these discussions and deliberations. He was passionate about access to information and the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) and ensuring the protection of journalist sources.”

She added: “We have lost a giant among us in the media industry. His role within Sanef and the media was priceless. He was a mentor to so many. He was our institutional memory on all fronts.”

Oom Ray, as he was fondly known by Sanef members, won Sanef’s Stephen Wrottesley award three times for his tireless commitment to the organisation.

Sanef chair, Mahlatse Mahlase, said: “We will miss his editorial wisdom, his passion for justice and his unstoppable energy. Even in retirement, Raymond continued to contribute immensely to Sanef. He was pained by continued attacks on journalists and attempts to muzzle the media by various actors. He was a wealth of wisdom and always a pillar of strength.”

“Sanef sends condolences to the family, both for the death of Raymond and Jean,” Mahlase said.

African News Agency (ANA)