The South African National Editors’ Forum (Sanef) has today won an interdict against Black First Land First (BLF) and its founder, Mr Andile Mngxitama at the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg.
Sanef asked the court to interdict BLF and Mngxitama from harassing, intimidating, assaulting and threatening eleven senior journalists, editors and commentators that have been targeted for their reporting on “state capture”.
This follows a protest at the private house of Tiso Blackstar editor at large Peter Bruce on Thursday, June 29 and the intimidation and harassment of Business Day editor Tim Cohen and political commentator Karima Brown at Bruce’s house.
BLF subsequently threatened more editors and journalists with similar protests at their private homes and have 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.
Sanef rejects BLF’s deplorable attempts to racially divide the journalistic fraternity.
This has been a unifying moment for all journalists in the country and further motivation to do what we believe in: exposing injustice and wrongdoing, irrespective of colour or creed.
We are defending more than media freedom. We are defending the personal freedoms of every South African.
Sanef chairwoman Mahlatse Gallens welcomed the interdict as a reinforcement of the rule of law and a strong statement against anyone who wants to muzzle the media.
“The purpose of the targeted harassment of these journalists is to keep allegations of corruption and state capture out of the public domain”, said Gallens.
The interdict prevents BLF and Mngxitama from gathering outside the homes of these journalists; from threatening these journalists with violence on social media, and from inciting harm against the journalists in any public interviews.
It also instructs the South African Police Service to arrest those that flout the court’s order.
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, Eyewitness News (EWN) editor in chief Katy Katopodis and EWN reporter Barry Bateman.
BLF was also slapped with a Punitive Legal Costs Order
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
Sanef Secretary General: Reggy Moalusi 071 682 3695.