The South African National Editors’ Forum (SANEF) notes with disgust the serving of summons on Karyn Maughan, News24’s specialist legal writer.
The summons, served by former president Jacob Zuma’s legal team, is a clear case of intimidation solely intended to silence Maughan. As Sanef previously stated in June when Maughan was cited as a respondent, the information published by Maughan was of public record and not confidential.
SANEF is of the view that the pursuing of this matter through private prosecution is not only vindictive but intended to intimidate Maughan and other journalists.
It must be noted that Maughan, as a journalist, wrote the said story following a letter from Brigadier-General Mcebisi Mdutywa informing prison and prosecuting authorities about Zuma’s health. Zuma’s legal team has since last year claimed Downer leaked this letter to Maughan, an inaccurate assertion.
As the media, we are aware that once papers are filed in court, they become public record, hence the latest serving of summons is uncalled for and an unwarranted move.
SANEF unequivocally supports News24 as they seek to defend any legal action that will be instituted against Maughan. This latest move by Zuma’s legal team should be condemned, and viewed as intimidation not only towards Maughan, but other journalists as well.
As this is a clear attack on media freedom, SANEF intends to fully support News24 and is considering joining the case as amicus curiae.
It is also disheartening to note a tweet made by Zuma’s daughter, Dudu Zuma-Sambudla, which appears to incite violence against Maughan.
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
Nwabisa Makunga – SANEF Deputy Chairperson (082) 555-1972
Tshamano Makhadi – Treasurer-General (082) 223 0621
Makhudu Sefara – SANEF Media Freedom Chair (079) 177-2134
Asanda Ngoasheng – Western Cape Convenor – 082 610-9374
Judy Sandison – SANEF KZN Convenor (082) 571-3334
Dr. Glenda Daniels – SANEF Gauteng Convenor (083) 229-9708
Chiara Carter – Acting SANEF Eastern Cape Convenor (082) 659-9162
Reggy Moalusi – SANEF Executive Director (071) 682-3695
Email: [email protected]