04 December 2018
The South African National Editors’ Forum (SANEF) has condemned the publishing of the home address of EFF leader Julius Malema on Twitter by freelance journalist and author Jacques Pauw. This follows the publication of an exposé by Eyewitness News on the alleged funding of Malema’s house by a private businessman.
Although SANEF supports the right of journalists to investigate the private lives of politicians when there is overriding public interest, as enshrined by the Press Code of South Africa, we agree with the EFF that giving the specific address was not in the public interest, had possible security implications and was contrary to good journalist practice. We have engaged with Pauw and have asked him to remove the details from Twitter, which he has done.
At the same time, we note with deep concern the repeated naming and threats leveled against editors and journalists who investigate or report critically on the EFF and calls for their addresses to be published. SANEF would like to emphasise that none of these journalists published Malema’s address. We condemn “war talk” against journalists. This too is not in the public interest, is dangerous to editors and journalists and will ultimately have a chilling effect on freedom of expression, freedom of the media and access to information. We again encourage the EFF leadership to engage with the editors directly and or take their complaints to the Press Ombudsman or Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa (BCCSA).
Finally, SANEF notes worrying developments in the Eastern Cape where a Herald reporter was assaulted at an ANC meeting. A disgruntled local businessman allegedly threatened to shoot a journalist who had written unflattering articles about him. SANEF condemns these actions in the strongest possible terms.
For more information please contact:
Mary Papayya – SANEF Media Freedom Chair
082 379 4957
Adriaan Basson – SANEF Treasurer
Kate Skinner – SANEF Executive Director
082 926 6404