10 November 2018
The South African National Editors’ Forum (SANEF) is deeply disturbed by Finance Minister Tito Mboweni’s social media posts threatening war against editors.
Without context Mboweni tweeted: “Wars start in different ways. Spears and shields, gun powder, bullets and now through media: printed and electronic (eg trade wars by a super president), and then Social media!! Well, the SA Editors must be Editors!! If needs be, we will be forced into the fight, War!”
In a second tweet Mboweni continues to then state that he is a “product of the warrior commanders of the mighty Zulu army” and states that, “there will be collateral damage.”
The comments are unacceptable. Mboweni as a cabinet member is a custodian of our Constitution and has taken an oath of office to protect and uphold the Constitution that guarantees media freedom.
Mboweni has every right to engage with the different media houses if he feels aggrieved by what they have written or alternatively to approach regulatory bodies like the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa (BCCSA) and Press Council.
However, threatening editors with war is unacceptable and very dangerous whatever the circumstances.
SANEF is hoping to meet Minister Mboweni to discuss the unfortunate tweets.
For more information please contact:
Mahlatse Mahlase – SANEF Chairperson, 083 399 2852
Mary Papayya – SANEF Chairperson – Media Freedom Sub-Committee, 082 379 4957
Kate Skinner – SANEF Executive Director, 082 926 6404