South Africa: Covering Julius Malema and the EFF - It's Not an Obsession, It's Good Journalism


There are occasional references on social media to individual journalists being "obsessed" with Julius Malema and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF). We should be clear. There is no obsession. The focus on Malema and the EFF is simply good journalism zooming in on what is probably the greatest threat to stability, trust and creating a progressive society with justice for everyone.

History offers stark warnings against ignoring the rise of dangerous political forces. The most notable of this blindness was the way that the press ignored the rise of fascism in 1920s Europe -- especially the rise of Adolf Hitler and his Nazis -- and underreported the Holocaust.

We should add, immediately, that Malema is not a Hitler, and we are very far away from the mass slaughter of World War II. Malema is closer, in public conduct, rhetoric and spectacle to the 1920s fascism of Benito Mussolini. Daily Maverick has previously drawn attention to these parallels. We know, from history, that newspapers that ignored the rise of Hitler (and failed to adequately cover his persecution of Jews) or dismissed him as an aberration, would come to regret their dismissals and decisions to treat the dictator lightly.

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