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Sanef Drops Equality Court Appeal And Seeks Other Recourses To Tackle Harassment Of Journalists

Sanef Chair Mahlatse Mahlase greets EFF leaders Julius Malema and Mbuyiseni Ndlozi at the Equality Court

The South African National Editors Forum (SANEF) has decided on 06 November 2019 to not appeal the Equality Court’s judgment in the complaint against the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and Mr Julius Malema.

After careful consideration and legal advice, SANEF accepts, with the benefit of hindsight, that the Equality Court was not the appropriate forum to air our concerns. We take note of the judgment that hate speech is very explicitly targeted against a person’s inherent features as prescribed by the Constitution.

Although SANEF finds certain aspects of the judgment problematic, we are pleased that the court has acknowledged the importance of protecting journalists. Judge Molefe stated that “it is thus incumbent on all organs of State, including the judiciary, to not only have regard to, but to take positive steps to protect the safety and independence of journalists”. We trust that state institutions, including the SAPS, and legislators have taken note of this.

SANEF maintains that the intimidation and harassment of journalists, in person or on social media, is unlawful. We encourage journalists targeted with threats and abuse that in any way endangers them or prohibits them from effectively doing their jobs to come to us.

For SANEF, this is not the end of the road in protecting journalists against hateful comments and intimidation. We intend to pursue all appropriate remedies available in terms of the law, including interdictory relief and criminal recourse. We will also continue to engage with political parties in our pursuit to agree on code for engagement between journalists and politicians in a Constitutional democracy.

For more information please contact:
Adriaan Basson – SANEF Treasurer – 082 562 2113
Moipone Malefane – SANEF Secretary-General 082 772 5861
Mary Papayya – SANEF Media Freedom, Acting Chair – 082 379 4957
Judy Sandison – SANEF KwaZulu Natal Regional Convenor 082 571-3334
Hopewell Radebe – SANEF Acting Gauteng Regional Convenor 083 582 1734
Kate Skinner – SANEF Executive Director – 082 926 6404