Sanef slams Karabo FM attack

2013-09-11 07:30

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Bloemfontein - The arson attack on the Free State community radio station Karabo Fm in Sasolburg was condemned on Tuesday by the SA National Editors' Forum (Sanef) and the ministry of communication.

Sanef said it was deeply shocked by the physical attack on a media institution, which operated at the heart of a local community.

"Not only is this an attack on media freedom, but also on the means by which people gain access to information about community affairs," Sanef said in a statement.

Two masked men stormed into the building at 21:00 on Saturday and ordered a radio presenter, two studio guests and a female security guard out of the building.

They threw petrol in and around the station and set it on fire.

Station manager Dika Kheswa said personnel did not know why the radio station was destroyed and no one had claimed responsibility.

The presenter, guests and security guard were not harmed.

The editors said that although threats had been levelled at newspapers, this was the first attack resulting in the destruction of a media outlet in the new democracy.

‘Appalling attack’

Wits Radio Academy director Franz Kruger described the incident as an appalling attack on media freedom, committed with great impunity.

He said media freedom at local level was far from guaranteed.

Sanef urged the community to help enable the radio station to return to broadcasting.

Communications Deputy Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams said it was a senseless attack.

"It is appalling that community members can seek to silence their own voice by burning down their own radio station," she said.

Ndabeni-Abrahams said all South Africans should be more tolerant of people who held different views to theirs.

She said all workers and volunteers at community radio stations should focus on their work of deepening democracy in the country.

Ndabeni-Abrahams urged the community of Sasolburg to come together to restore Karabo FM as its voice.

Read more on:    sanef  |  bloemfontein  |  media

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