The South African National Editors’ Forum (SANEF) welcomes Black First Land First’s (BLF) compliance with the South Gauteng High Court’s order that they denounce violence against journalists through a statement on their websites and social media platforms.
SANEF and 11 journalists, commentators and editors had asked the High Court in Johannesburg for an urgent interdict against BLF members, to stop them from harassing, intimidating, assaulting and threatening the applicants.
The court on Friday 7 July granted SANEF and the other applicants the interdict and ordered BLF and its founder Mr Andile Mngxitama to abide by the order within 12 hours.
In accordance with the court order, BLF has now issued a statement which it posted on its website on 11 July that it does not condone the following:
1. Intimidation, harassment, assault on and threats made to any journalists by BLF members;
2. Going to the homes of, or acting in any manner that would constitute an infringement of the personal liberty of any journalist by members of BLF, and
3. Conduct on social media directed at any journalist that is threatening, including intimidating gestures on social media and that references any violence, harm and threats.
The interdict followed an illegal protest at the private home of Tiso Blackstar editor at large Peter Bruce on Thursday 29 June and the intimidation and harassment of Business Day editor Tim Cohen and political commentator Karima Brown.
BLF subsequently threatened more editors and journalists with similar protests at their private homes and referred to Brown, HuffPost editor-at-large Ferial Haffajee and Talk Radio 702 presenter Eusebius McKaiser as “askaris”- a deeply offensive term used mainly during the apartheid era to refer to liberation fighters who changed sides and joined the oppressive regime.
The other co-applicants in the matter were amaBhungane partner Sam Sole, News24 editor Adriaan Basson, EWN and Talk Radio 702’s Stephen Grootes, independent journalist Max du Preez, EWN editor Katy Katopodis and EWN reporter Barry Bateman.
This is not just a victory for the journalists that were being targeted for their reporting on state capture, but it is also a victory for our constitution and rule of law.
FREEDOM OF THE MEDIA comes at a price. To fight this case on behalf of journalists and the public, whose right to know is undermined by threatening and harassing journalists, Sanef incurred legal and administrative expenses. If you would like to donate to Sanef, download the SnapScan app in the App Store (iOS) or Google Play Story (Android), scan our logo below and donate an amount you can afford to enable us to keep on fighting for journalists who shine the light in dark corners.
Sanef Chairperson: Mahlatse Gallens 083 399 2852
Sanef Deputy Chairperson: Katy Katopodis 082 805 7022
Sanef Treasurer: Adriaan Basson 082 562 2113
Sanef Media Freedom Chair: Sam Mkokeli 082 084 2051