PAC, Saftu slam intimidation of journalists

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Protesters outside journalist, Peter Bruce's home. Twitter/ @Eusebius

JOHANNESBURG - The South African Federation of Trade Unions and the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) have called for the protection of journalists.

They say an attack on journalists is an attack on South African citizens.

"The intimidatory pickets outside an editor’s home ... is an attack not just on individuals but on all media outlets and on every South African’s constitutional right to freedom of expression and to share information and opinions," Saftu said.

"The PAC strongly condemns the thuggish behaviour displayed by populists and defenders of certain family empires," spokesman Kenneth Mokgatlhea said in a statement.

Last week, Black First Land First (BLF) picketed outside the house of Peter Bruce, editor-at-large of the Tiso Blackstar media group, demanding that he stop writing about the Gupta family.

BLF later issued a list of other journalists it would target.

This tactic is part of a systematic drive by the corrupt faction to hollow out all institutions that support democracy. Irrespective of the views of the editors and journalists they are targeting, we cannot tolerate attempts to deny any of them the right to publish those views by means of threats and intimidation.

READ: BLF to continue targeting journalists

On Wednesday, the SA National Editors Forum applied for an urgent court interdict to stop BLF from intimidating journalists.

The PAC said press freedom was a pre-requisite for a democratic country.

"An attack on journalists is an attack on our masses because the media is the fourth estate of government and needs to be taken seriously, like the other three branches of government. The media plays an integral part in our society and that cannot be taken away by attention-seekers. We are not going to allow this cheap tendency in the name of being revolutionary," Mokgatlhea said.

Saftu said the intimidation was part of a systematic drive by a "corrupt faction to hollow out all institutions that support democracy. Irrespective of the views of the editors and journalists they are targeting, we cannot tolerate attempts to deny any of them the right to publish those views by means of threats and intimidation.

"The federation will continue to fight for a truly independent media which reflects all the people of South Africa, especially the workers and the poor whose voice is still largely unheard in the commercial media. But it will also fight against any moves to censor any of the media, especially those who stand up and oppose corruption and plundering."

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