FXI condemns Karabo FM attack

2013-09-09 17:43


Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Johannesburg - The burning of Karabo FM, a community radio station in Sasolburg, in the Free State, was an attack on the democratic principles of South Africa, the Freedom of Expression Institute (FXI) said on Monday.

"This tragic incident is yet another reminder that, almost 20 years into democracy, the right to freedom of expression and specifically media freedom still needs to be protected and advanced," it said in a statement.

"The... institute adds that such attacks should be treated not just as an attack on media freedom, but an attack on the foundations of South Africa's constitutional democracy."

According to the station's board chairperson Sam Mkhwanazi, it was deliberately burnt down by two unidentified men on Saturday.

"Two armed men, covering their faces, went into the studio carrying 25l of petrol. They sprinkled it around and set the place alight on Saturday night," he said at the weekend.

The two ordered the presenter out of the studio before setting the building on fire at 21:00.

"We do not know why they burnt [down] the station. The whole building has been destroyed. Our hard work of five years was destroyed in two minutes."

He said the station had a normal relationship with residents in Sasolburg, and he could not understand why people had burnt it down.

"People loved the station. It is a great loss to us," he said.

He hoped police would speedily investigate the cause of the fire.

Mkhwanazi encouraged the community of Sasolburg and the surrounding areas to work with them to provide information which would lead to the arrest of the perpetrators.

Local conflict

The FXI said Karabo FM was "in the middle of the local conflict" around plans to merge Parys and Sasolburg.

"With several outbreaks of violence over the past months, Karabo FM has remained a medium that sought to maintain some independence."

In August, the Municipal Demarcation Board decided to drop a merger between the Metsimaholo and Ngwathe municipalities in the Free State.

In January, four people were killed, several were injured and hundreds were arrested during protests against the proposed merger. Several cars were set alight and government buildings were damaged in Sasolburg's Zamdela township.

The University of Witwatersrand's radio academy director Franz Kruger said in the FXI statement that the attack illustrated the state of media freedom at the local level.

"This is an appalling attack on media freedom, committed with great impunity, and highlights the extent to which media freedom at local level is far from guaranteed".

Earlier on Monday the Media Development and Diversity Agency (MDDA) expressed sadness at the fire.

"The MDDA is saddened by this incident, as it has deprived the community of an essential information asset which kept the community informed and entertained at all times," CEO Lumko Mtimde said in a statement.

Read more on:    mdda  |  fxi  |  bloemfontein  |  media

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Financial advisors – Do you need one and should you get one?

The good, the bad, and everything else you need to know when considering hiring a financial advisor.


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.