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SANEF Press Release

18 March 2010

The South African National Editors’ Forum (Sanef) notes with concern the complaints lodged by political journalists about the latest attempts by the ANCYL to intimidate and blackmail the media by digging into the private affairs of certain journalists. In a democracy this is an unsavoury and dangerous act.

Sanef strongly supports the journalists’ and their editors’ in their resolve not to be used in the youth league’s propaganda war against journalists deemed to be a thorn in its flesh.

Sanef endorses the complaint by the group of political journalists to the ANC and the ANCYL against the conduct of the League and its spokesman, Floyd Shivambu. Sanef supports the journalists’ view that such actions constitute an attempt to intimidate journalists and draw them into a dirty tricks campaign.

We reject with contempt Shivambu’s insulting response to the complaint, in which he dismisses the journalists as a “mob” and a “gang” unworthy of consideration. Sanef is also concerned that the ANC has yet to respond to the letter from the political journalists, which alerts it to one of the most brazen attacks on press freedom in the new South Africa.

We join the journalists in calling on President Jacob Zuma, as head of the ANC and of government, to rein in the ANCYL and take steps to establish whether state resources are not being used to gather information on journalists.

Journalists must be allowed to do their legitimate work of informing the public and playing their role as the constitutionally protected watchdog for the public. Sanef supports the political journalists’ stance against corruption and encourages anyone who believes that a crime has been committed to approach the relevant authorities.

Issued by: SA National Editors’ Forum (SANEF)