Ayanda Dlodlo condemns intimidation of journalists
Statement by communications minister is first from government since attacks on journalists last week
Minister of Communications, Ms Ayanda Dlodlo has added her voice to the criticisms of intimidation of the media including against Business Day editor at large Peter Bruce last week by Black First Land First protestors.
The protestors gathered outside Bruce’s home to protest against his continued criticisms of the Gupta family which is known to have provided funds for the organisation.
The minister said in a statement that she deplored any form of attack or intimidation against members of the media.
"In South Africa, the media industry is not servile but instead enjoys freedom guaranteed under the Bill of Rights enshrined in the Constitution," Dlodlo said.
"Journalists are subjected to front line abuse globally and in South Africa it has become no exception. The media is not only victimized by organizations and members of the public, but it is also important to note that they have fallen prey to associates within their own profession. The recent case of intimidation of Business Day employees, as well as journalists in The Times group and ANN7, are but a few examples of attacks against the media," the minister said.
"Any form of intimidation of the press goes against the Constitution, the cornerstone of our democracy and such acts are unacceptable. Journalists should be free to practice their craft without any fear or intimidation, and this comes with a degree of responsibility in their reporting which includes the values and ethos enshrined under the Bill of Rights."
Dlodlo further added that in South Africa’s system of democracy, openness and accountability the media’s role is imperative in moving the country forward by shaping public narrative, creating an informed citizenry, and strengthening democracy.