Media 'emotionally blackmailing' us - BLF

2017-07-06 10:56
BLF leader Andile Mngxitama (Photo by Gallo Images/Beeld/Deaan Vivier)

BLF leader Andile Mngxitama (Photo by Gallo Images/Beeld/Deaan Vivier)

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Cape Town – Black First Land First (BLF) and its head Andile Mngxitama strongly denied on Thursday that its recent protest action against journalists amounted to harassment, intimidation or threat, or an attack on media independence.

The response came ahead of the SA National Editors Forum (Sanef) appearing in the High Court in Johannesburg on Thursday to secure an urgent interdict against BLF.

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Sanef wants BLF to stop harassing, intimidating, assaulting and threatening journalists and editors over their reporting on state capture and corruption.

This, after the BLF staged a protest in front of an editor’s house and issued a statement against a number of journalists.

"I want to set the record straight that no one is targeted and, as BLF, we have never planned to harass individuals, including applicants," Mngxitama said in a replying affidavit.

He said the white journalists it had mentioned in a list were sensationalising their protests and statements, to create "media hysteria".

'Far-fetched story'

It said it was "emotional blackmail" for the applicants to use the example of SABC journalist Suna Venter, who recently died from broken heart syndrome.

"Ms Venter died because of heart related conditions which comes as a result of pressures of journalism. It cannot be right that a legitimate protest is being linked with a far-fetched story," Mngxitama said.

"One shudders to think of how many black people die from this as a result of land dispossession and racism. We cannot ban protests because journalists may die from heart condition."

BLF said it believed in freedom of the media and freedom of expression, except when it was "misused for other ulterior motives such as covering up corruption by White Monopoly Capital".

Their position was one of black consciousness, fighting a culture where whiteness was portrayed as faultless, while blackness was portrayed as guilty and corrupt.

It said it subscribed to the supremacy of the Constitution and would never promote lawlessness, or racially polarise the country.

Rather, its intentions were to promote transformation.

'Protecting an oppressive discourse'

"We shall stand in the gap for the families of the various black people who are scandalised and affected by bias reporting by journalists whose interest in reporting is based on protecting an oppressive discourse against black leaders."

BLF undertook to continue organising lawful and peaceful protests, without any use of force or violence.
Business Day editor Tim Cohen was assaulted as he tried to take a photo of BLF supporters a week ago, as they protested outside Tiso Blackstar editor-at-large Peter Bruce's home in Johannesburg.

During the protest, the words "Land or death" were written on Bruce's garage, and placards were carried saying, "Peter you murder the truth" and "Peter propagandist of WMC".

The protest followed a column he had written about being spied on, and linking it to the Gupta family. The surveillance resulted in a series of articles and photographs of his private life.

BLF argued that the application was neither urgent nor the only remedy. It said the applicants had not opened any assault case with the police, nor attached photos of any injuries.

RELATED VIDEO - WATCH: 'We were chased out to satisfy the Committee's white masters' - Mngxitama 

Read more on:    blf  |  sanef  |  andile mngxitama  |  johannesburg  |  politics  |  media

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