Attacks on journalists could signal ‘slide into tyranny’

Staff Writer | Aug 12, 2019
Civil society organisation Right2Know (R2K) said the treatment of journalists during the court appearances of suspended African National Congress mayor of eThekwini, Zandile Gumede, was ‘a serious concern’.

The treatment suffered by journalists at the hands of police and supporters of Gumede – who was suspended in May after being charged with fraud – confirmed why South Africa’s ranking on the World Press Freedom Index had dropped, R2K said.

It was ‘shocking in a country that claims to be democratic for journalists to be treated in the manner in which the world witnessed last month and that there haven’t been any repercussions (for) those responsible for trampling on media freedom’, said R2K KZN organiser Sthembiso Khuluse.

Khuluse said in a statement that it ‘has become a norm that whenever the suspended eThekwini mayor appears in court, her supporters and police threaten and manhandle journalists’. It was up to the State to uphold media freedom and to protect journalists.

Khuluse added: ‘We also call on all democratic formations in the country to stand with journalists, for this could be the beginning of a slide into tyranny. Defending democracy demands eternal vigilance from every concerned citizen of this country.’

 

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