Minister in The Presidency Mondli Gungubele joins the South African National Editors' Forum (SANEF) in condemning criminal attacks on journalists who visit communities as part of being out on assignment.
Minister Gungubele has noted with concern reports of an attack on Monday, 18 October 2021, on eTV journalist Natalie Malgas and camera operator Lance Manjoro who were robbed outside a Khayelitsha primary school while covering the build-up to the 1 November local government elections.
The Minister wishes the eTV crew a speedy recovery from the traumatic incident in which they were physically unscathed but were robbed at gunpoint of personal possessions and professional equipment.
Minister Gungubele said: "It is particularly deplorable and noteworthy that this incident occurred in a week in which our country observes 19 October Black Wednesday - the day in 1977 on which the apartheid state cracked down on the media and freedom of expression.
"The media are an important actor in our democratic order and in the lives of citizens. Criminals who victimise journalists are victimising communities for whom access to information is a right and an important form of empowerment.
"Communities suffer when journalists are unable to perform their assignments which often includes a focus on improving the living conditions of communities or giving a voice to people who would otherwise not be heard."
Minister Gungubele also shares SANEF's concern about cyber-bullying and the abuse of social media that targets journalists.
"We fought long and hard for media freedom and we will not take lightly opportunistic or targeted crime or abuse perpetrated against journalists," said Minister Gungubele.