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SANEF is appalled by the continued harassment of SABC journalists

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The South African National Editors’ Forum (SANEF) is appalled by the continued harassment of Lesedi FM journalist Mantsheuwa Mofokeng and other former SABC employees.

Mofokeng and two others former SABC journalists Matshediso Mokaeane and Naka Moloi are currently the victims of a vicious cyberbullying campaign that started in October last year.

In the latest poster created and widely distributed on social media this week, fellow Lesedi FM journalist Dimakatso Motsoeneng’s face has been added to the smear campaign.

Unknown persons have made unsubstantiated claims that the four are involved in a so-called “sex for jobs” scandal at Lesedi FM. The creators have used fake email addresses and fake Facebook accounts to distribute the malicious allegations. In the posters being widely distributed, pictures from pornographic websites are used as part of an obscene plot to destroy their reputations.

We believe that this is a classic case of cyberbullying which affects the journalists’ ability to work and damages their credibility as journalists.

We welcome the police’s investigation into the cyberbullying, harassment, and defamation of the SABC journalists. We are hoping for a speedy conclusion and for perpetrators to be brought to book to send a message that such action will not be tolerated or left unchallenged.

SANEF condemns the continued use of social media as a weapon to silence journalists, especially women journalists. Too often women journalists are sexualised, body shamed, called names, and even threatened with rape in a desperate effort to force them to leave journalism.

The savage actions have a lasting impact on the journalists’ mental health.

Following its Media Ethics and Sustainability conference earlier this month, SANEF has prioritised mental health awareness and support for journalists. We plead with all newsroom managers and media companies to act quickly against these acts and ensure women journalists receive adequate mental health support as soon as possible.

If there are allegations of abuse of power related in particular to sexual harassment allegations, they should also be investigated immediately because they hurt employee morale, lower productivity, cause high employee turnover and frequent absenteeism as well as cause stress-related illnesses.

Society needs to send a strong message that it is appalled by these cheap attempts to malign female reporters.

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

Adriaan Basson – SANEF Deputy Chairperson (082) 562-2113

Mahlatse Mahlase – Secretary General (083) 399-2852

Nwabisa Makunga – Treasurer (082) 555-1972

Asanda Ngoasheng – Western Cape Convenor – 082 610 9374

Mary Papayya – SANEF Media Freedom Chair (082) 379-4957

Judy Sandison – SANEF KZN Convenor (082) 571-3334

Katy Katopodis – SANEF Gauteng Convenor (082) 805-7022

Chiara Carter – SANEF Eastern Cape Convenor (082) 659-9162

Twitter: @SAEditorsForum

Email: [email protected] Website: www.sanef.org.za