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The South African National Editors’ Forum (SANEF) strongly condemns the unlawful and intimidatory actions by supporters of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) on eNCA Journalists. The supporters harassed and prevented eNCA journalists from covering a protest in Tokai, Cape Town earlier today (10 June 2021).

We believe that the deplorable actions of intimidation against eNCA anchor Ayesha Ismail and cameraman Mario Pedro have severe implications for journalism. A video circulating on social media shows the threats being made to the eNCA team. They were told to leave, and one supporter even threatened them with a sjambok while another is heard saying “we gonna teach you all a good lesson”.

The EFF’s hostility towards eNCA dates back to December 2019 when the EFF declared that Daily Maverick, their investigative unit Scorpio, and independent investigative journalism unit amaBhungane would no longer be ‘allowed’ to cover EFF events or briefings.

SANEF had warned that the ban imposed on various media entities infringed on the right to freedom of expression guaranteed in section 16 of the Bill of Rights. At the time eNCA took a conscious decision to stand in solidarity with their colleagues, as a result, the EFF banned eNCA from its events for their investigative work.

This is not the first time that EFF supporters have prevented eNCA journalists from doing their work. On a previous occasion, students aligned with the EFF prevented eNCA from covering University protests.

Given the actions recorded today, SANEF calls on the leadership of the EFF, as a political party in a parliamentary democracy, to condemn such behaviour. The media is an essential cog in the promotion of democracy. It acts as a mirror to society and, as such, is opened to listening to — and publicising — all points of view. Political formations that are, in any sense, democratic, should engage with — and not abuse and shun — the media.

SANEF believes that the curtailment of the rights of journalists to do their job deprives society of the truth. Any harassment and attacks on journalists eventually lead to self-censorship. In the run-up to the local government elections, it is important for political parties to support all journalists and foster an enabling and conducive environment for journalists to do their work.

Note to Editors: The South African National Editors’ Forum (SANEF) is a non-profit organisation whose members are editors, senior journalists and journalism trainers from all areas of the South African media. We are committed to championing South Africa’s hard-won freedom of expression and promoting quality, ethics and diversity in the South African media. We promote excellence in journalism through fighting for media freedom, writing policy submissions, research and education and training programmes. SANEF is not a union.

For more information please contact:

Sbu Ngalwa – SANEF Chairperson (073) 404-1415

Adriaan Basson – SANEF Deputy Chairperson (082) 562-2113

Mahlatse Mahlase – Secretary General (083) 399-2852

Nwabisa Makunga – Treasurer (082) 555-1972

Asanda Ngoasheng – Western Cape Convenor – 082 610 9374

Mary Papayya – SANEF Media Freedom Chair (082) 379-4957

Judy Sandison – SANEF KZN Convenor (082) 571-3334

Katy Katopodis – SANEF Gauteng Convenor (082) 805-7022

Chiara Carter – SANEF Eastern Cape Convenor (082) 659-9162

Reggy Moalusi – SANEF Executive Director (071) 682 3695

Twitter: @SAEditorsForum

Email: [email protected] Website: www.sanef.org.za

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