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EFF leader Julius Malema has courted controversy ever since the halcyon days when he was president of the ANC’s youth league. Whether making racially incendiary comments, calling for nationalisation (of everything) or attacking journalists, Malema was never far away from the front page.
But the populist, intolerant and racist tendencies he exhibited when he was a young and brash ANC leader has not gone away, even though he has graduated to become the leader of the third biggest political party in Parliament, the EFF. Malema has chosen to vilify and cast the media as a bloc in opposition to his political project and it has led to the Fourth Estate questioning how it covers the EFF, and whether it can do better.
In this week’s edition of News24’s Friday Briefing editor-in-chief Adriaan Basson writes about the time when his “whiteness” wasn’t a problem for Malema, academic Glenda Daniels considers how the media should cover the EFF and I track journalists’ fraught relationship with Malema & Co.
Let us know what you think by tweeting @News24, or commenting on our Facebook page. Pieter du Toit
Assistant Editor: In-depth News
Pieter du Toit
The EFF and the media have had a fraught relationship ever since the party was established in 2013. And even though it has become even more testy in recent weeks, journalists are also copping flak for seemingly being too soft on the party in the past.
There was a time when Julius Malema used to call me with tip-offs. My whiteness wasn’t an issue when he gave me stories in our common pursuit to expose corruption. This week he called me a “racist thing”. He no longer takes my calls. Malema is back to his ANC Youth League ways of toxic race politics. The common thread? Corruption allegations against the self-styled “commander-in-chief” of the Economic Freedom Fighters.
Over the past few weeks the media has been grappling with how to cover the EFF's controversial statements. The party's leadership often make divisive, slanderous and factually incorrect statements at events the media attend. How can the media expose this behaviour without spreading the party's offensive rhetoric at the same time?
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