Freedom of all is under threat in SA

Any target on the media is an attack on democracy itself.

Journalists should be allowed to do their jobs, without fear of intimidation.

The SA National Editors’ Forum (Sanef) yesterday made a case for urgency in its bid for an urgent interdict against Andile Mngxitama and the Black First Land First (BLF) movement in the High Court in Johannesburg.

Sanef has asked the court to interdict Mngxitama and BLF from harassing, intimidating, assaulting and threatening journalists and editors over their reporting and analysis on corruption and state capture. A ruling is expected at noon today.

Last week BLF supporters protested outside Tiso Blackstar editor-at-large Peter Bruce’s home, and also assaulted Business Day editor Tim Cohen. They also launched an attack on so-called “racist white journalists”, as well as black journalists who mimic “these white agents of white monopoly capital”.

This newspaper, and other media organisations, have committed ourselves to report news truthfully and accurately, and to publish comment that is fair, in accordance with the highest standards of journalism as set out in the Press Code of South Africa.

We are not saying journalists have more of a right to protection than anyone else, but they certainly shouldn’t have less. Journalists should not be silenced by threats and intimidation, and any target on the media is an attack on democracy in itself.

Which is why today’s decision is so important.

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