Following EWN apologising after their reporter, Barry Bateman, was caught on camera calling Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader a p**s, the party has released a statement rejecting the apology and calling for “concomitant action”.
“Had it been a black journalist who would have insulted a white journalist, he would be under suspension with immediate effect,” the statement argues.
The EFF says Bateman must be “dealt with the same way and not be accorded the white privilege of kid’s gloves”.
The statement begins by making it clear that the EFF “rejects the delayed lukewarm Eye Witness News apology” for the “insult issued by their journalist, Barry Bateman” against Malema.
READ MORE: Hands off Barry Bateman
“We have long warned that journalists are responsible for the toxic environment that the EFF has to operate in, within the media generally,” the statement reads.
“One must simply imagine what would have happened had the EFF responded to Bateman on the scene to his naked provocation. It is obvious that many would blame EFF for being intolerant of the media and suppressing media freedom”.
“It is also obvious that Bateman could swear at [Malema] because South African journalism has allowed, condoned and promoted [biased] reporters who have descended to the arena (sic).
“It is now a central feature in of major South African publications to descend into the arena, take sides and expect those they act against to fold their arms.
A clip from 24-hour news channel Newzroom Afrika that was picked up by, among others, Sizwe Dhlomo, appears to show EWN journalist Barry Bateman shaking his head somewhat in disbelief at what he just heard being said by EFF leader Julius Malema outside the Hawks’ offices.
It was later confirmed that Bateman had called Malema a “p**s”, and EWN felt the need to issue an apology about it.
Malema had appeared for a warning statement yesterday morning related to charges that include the illegal discharging of a firearm.
In the clip, Malema can be seen looking Bateman in the eye, in answer to whether Malema had assaulted a white policeman at the funeral of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela last year – as the Hawks appear keen to charge him for – and he replies: “I wish I did that. I wish I’d assaulted him. Now that it’s a real issue, I wish I did a real thing. Proper. I regret not doing it. I should have done it.”
Malema apparently then refers to Bateman as “boet”, and tells him he isn’t scared. “Uniform or no uniform. Afrikaner or no Afrikaner. White or pink! I deal with you! Decisively,” he says, before thanking the gathered media and leaving.
Bateman can then be seen shaking his head and apparently muttering the slur: “P**s!”
Bateman told The Citizen he couldn’t comment.
“As the EWN apology states, I have been pulled off air and processes have been initiated internally,” he said.
(Compiled by Daniel Friedman. Background reporting, Charles Cilliers.)