The EFF is unmoved by the South African National Editors’ Forum’s (Sanef’s) views in condemning their boycott of investigative units Scorpio and amaBhungane, as well as the Daily Maverick, from their events as well as their press conferences.
The EFF maintains it has a right to freedom of association.
“We will never be able to stop anyone from writing anything they want about EFF, but we have the right to decide who we associate within our own events and platforms.”
The party questions where Sanef was when the same media was digging in their dustbins “in a pure attempt to discredit their persons?”
“Where is Sanef when they repeat the same story of R16 million VBS money for more than a year, at the expense of the rest of the R2 billion that was lost to the bank? What action did Sanef demand when a journalist insulted the EFF leadership outside the Hawks offices in Silverton, Pretoria?”
The EFF claims to have it on good record that journalists are working with politicians to discredit the EFF.
“Is the digging of EFF leaders’ dustbins not conduct consistent with Stratcom? Are the tactics of discrediting the character of the EFF leadership not consistent with the conduct of the Indian cabal that Pravin Gordhan led in the 1980s during the UDF days?”
Journalism was meant to be grounded in an ethical and independent ethos. Once journalists were directly furthering political objectives, they ceased to be journalists, the party added.
Sanef said it was “appalled” by Malema’s call to ban investigative journalism units amaBhungane and the Daily Maverick’s Scorpio from attending their party events, including press conferences.
On Thursday, during the EFF memorial service for former Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe, Malema told party supporters that the publications should be treated as the enemy, much like the EFF did when it banned Gupta-owned The New Age newspaper and broadcaster ANN7.
Malema also described the publications as frauds, designed to pursue the interest of Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan.
Sanef has challenged Malema and other implicated EFF leaders to disprove media reports or to approach the Ombud’s Office and the Press Council if they feel aggrieved at any aspect of the reporting.
“Sanef believes it is unacceptable that the leader of the third-largest political party would engage in unconstitutional actions – actions that deny journalists the opportunity to work effectively by being refused the right to attend EFF meetings, press conferences and other activities.”
The forum said Malema’s call for a ban of the country’s leading investigative journalism units was at odds with the oath he took.
“In the wake of these attacks, we hope that members of parliament will condemn in the strongest terms the EFF leader’s attempts to drag South Africa back to the days of apartheid censorship where media intimidation by apartheid leaders was routine.
“Mr Malema needs to be held to his oath to uphold the Constitution.”
(Compiled by Gopolang Moloko, additional reporting from News4 Wire)