12 May 2010
The SA National Editors’ Forum deplores the decision by the African National Congress’s National Disciplinary Committee to take no action against ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema for his abuse of a BBC journalist at a press conference last month.
Malema called BBC journalist Johah Fisher a “bastard’’ and a“ bloody agent’’ in expelling him from the press conference. The ANC disciplinary committee withdrew a charge that was laid before it over these insulting and defamatory references to the BBC journalist and his expulsion from the conference after it had accepted a plea bargain on behalf of Malema and because there was an alleged technical error in the manner in which the charge was laid.
Sanef believes that Malema’s attack on the BBC journalist and expulsion from the conference was an attack on media freedom and amounts to censorship and unacceptable conduct towards the media.
For the disciplinary committee to fail to make the slightest critical comment about Malema’s treatment of the journalist indicates that the ANC not only condones but associates itself with Malema’s behaviour. The inference drawn by Sanef and journalists generally is that the ANC is acting in contempt of journalists and the principle of press freedom as is enshrined in the Constitution