Brits radio station the target of on-air death threats

2016-07-23 18:17


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Cape Town - Threats made against the station manager and other employees of Brits community radio station Madibeng FM are a seriously concern, the Right2Know (R2K) Campaign has said.

R2K's Micah Reddy in a statement on Friday said that members of the Bapo Ba Mogale Traditional Council and their associates had attempted to force the station to cancel a live interview with critics of the council's deal involving mining company Lonmin and a businessman.

"According to media reports, a crowd of around 150 people, among them the so-called 'ambassadors' who are alleged to be the council's enforcers, descended on the station, which was soon taken off air. R2K has spoken to the station manager who now fears for his safety," Reddy said.

"He said that the station has been receiving threats since it began looking into the story and that people had called into the station on air to make death threats against him."

Reddy called on police to treat the case seriously and to take the necessary measures to protect the radio station's staff, saying regardless of the veracity of claims relating to the deal, threats to the safety of media workers must be condemned. 

"Very often, the major challenges and threats facing the media are amplified at the local level. Dwindling revenues, a lack of adequate funding with no strings attached, and insufficient support for community media jeopardise the ability of community journalists to safely go about their work. 

"This also leaves community media especially vulnerable to political and commercial interference and the undue influence of local power brokers, like a microcosm of the SABC saga.

"Moreover, community media workers are often on the front line of dangerous stories - holding hostile local actors to account, covering violent service delivery protests and so forth - but they lack the institutional support of their colleagues in the big media companies.”

Reddy pointed to incidents such as the torching of the Karabo FM offices and the death of Mike Tshele, a community journalist who killed by police while covering protests close to the offices of Madibeng FM.

Read more on:    polokwane  |  media

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