The South African National Editors' Forum has noted the judgment by Judge Daisy Molefe of the Equality Court, dismissing Sanef’s case that harmful and hateful statements made by EFF leader Julius Malema, his colleagues and supporters against journalists constitute hate speech and harassment.
We will be studying the content thereof before we make further decisions about the continuation of the legal process.
Sanef is disappointed that the ruling was not in our favour, but maintain we were fully justified to have approached the courts after numerous instances of threats and intimidation were issued by the EFF against journalists. We also wish to emphasize that the recourse to the courts was a last resort after efforts to meet the EFF failed.
We note that Judge Molefe states in her judgment: “It is incumbent on all organs of state, including the judiciary, to not only have regard to, but to take positive steps to protect the safety and independence of journalists.”
We will continue our attempts to engage the EFF and all other political parties on mutually acceptable rules of engagement. We recently hosted a symposium on this topic. The EFF was invited but didn't attend the event.
SANEF is also working on a memorandum of understanding between the media and political parties to encourage more cordial interactions and rules of engagement.
Sanef welcomes the criticism of journalists and the titles they work for by the EFF and any other member of the public, but again we call on these critics to engage the media in a way that does not amount to intimidating or threaten the lives of reporters.