ANC MP allegedly threatens newpaper editor with ‘assassination’November 9, 2022
An African National Congress (ANC) MP has allegedly threatened a newspaper editor to stop reporting on Dr Bejani Chauke, an adviser to President Cyril Ramaphosa, or face “assassination.”
The threats come barely a week after suspended uMkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association spokesperson Carl Niehaus’ incendiary Twitter attack on journalist Karyn Maughan calling on his Twitter followers to “keep on kicking this dog.”
Niehaus has since received a lawyer’s letter for his conduct.
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Threats of assassination
The South African National Editors’ Forum (SANEF) said it has noted the shocking reports of the ANC MP’s threats against Sifiso Mahlangu, The Star’s editor.
“According to reports carried in various Independent Media titles, ANC member of parliament Boy Mamabolo allegedly told editor Sifiso Mahlangu to stop reporting on Dr Bejani Chauke, an adviser to President Cyril Ramaphosa, or face “assassination.”
“Such a statement is not only a chilling threat to the life of Mahlangu but is also conduct that borders on criminal conduct,” SANEF said.
SANEF added that it has reached out to Mahlangu and requested that he share the threatening messages from Mamabolo.
“He has yet to do so. SANEF further notes Mahlangu’s decision to lay a criminal complaint against Mamabolo and calls for a full investigation into the matter.”
SANEF said it stands for media freedom and believes that journalists should be given the space to do their work without political interference or intimidation.
“While Independent Media, owners of The Star, are neither members of SANEF nor part of the Press Council of SA – like most mainstream media houses in South Africa – we believe that threats or intimidation directed at journalists should be condemned by all proponents of media freedom.”
“Journalists have a right to do their job without fear or favour,” it added.
SANEF has called on the police to act swiftly in their investigation so that the matter can be brought to finality.
Journalists are the ones who stand at a split road and choose the path less travelled, said Katy Katopodis, the News Director at Newzroom Afrika and chair of the South African National Editors Forum’s (SANEF) Journalism wellness and safety committee, at the Brave Awards earlier this month.
“These are the people, brave enough to take risks, investigate, ask the really tough questions. We run toward stories when others run away, and [we are] brave enough to tell stories in South Africa that truly matter,” said Katopodis.
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