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South Africa must be applauded for the free and fair media landscape it has created. It’s a token of the country’s democracy and cannot be taken lightly. And when a political party leader bans, or threatens, a group of journalists from future events, it does raise eyebrows. Point in case involves EFF leader Julius Malema and journalists working for any Gupta-owned media (ANN7 and the New Age). The South African National Editors Forum has expressed concerns, as this brings the very essence of media freedom into question, which is enshrined in the country’s constitution. Malema threatened the Guptas themselves, saying they’ll go the same way Apartheid did. But then again would Malema have it any other way. – Stuart Lowman
By Genevieve Quintal, News24
Johannesburg – The SA National Editors’ Forum on Thursday expressed concern over EFF leader Julius Malema’s intimidation of journalists who worked for Gupta-owned media outlets.
Malema warned journalists who worked for broadcaster ANN7 and The New Age newspaper that they would not be welcome at the party’s events.
“It is unacceptable for any political party to intimidate journalists and to publicly state that they cannot guarantee their safety,” Sanef said.
It urged the Economic Freedom Fighters not to ban journalists working for Gupta-owned companies and to reaffirm the rights of media freedom and association.
“The EFF is entitled to its views about media owners, but should allow journalists to conduct their work without fear and in a climate conducive to the free exchange of information.
Read also: Malema: Unchecked Zuma = Failed SA state
“Freedom of the media and freedom of expression are enshrined in our Constitution and should be respected by the EFF. A diverse media is essential for a robust and healthy democracy,” Sanef said.
Malema said the EFF did not want to see journalists from ANN7 and The New Age at its events.
He was briefing reporters on the party’s response to President Jacob Zuma’s offer that the Constitutional Court should order Treasury and the finance ministry to determine how much he should repay for non-security upgrades to his private Nkandla home.
Malema cautioned ANN7 and New Age journalists to “move out the way”.
“Sisters and brothers in Gupta firms we love you and don’t want you to be casualties. We cannot guarantee the safety of those printing New Age and ANN7.”
Malema told the Guptas to leave the country, called them a corrupt cartel, and said they would be dealt with the same way apartheid was.
The Gupta family was said to have a close relationship with Zuma and other highly-placed ANC leaders.
The family owns IT company Sahara Holdings and Oakbay Investments, which it uses to run a variety of businesses.
ANN7 earlier promoted on its Twitter page that it would broadcast the EFF’s press briefing. Shortly after Malema’s comments, the broadcast was stopped. – News24
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