Parliamentary committee welcomes interdict against BLF

2017-07-07 16:53
BLF members outside court (Twitter Screengrab)

BLF members outside court (Twitter Screengrab)

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Cape Town – The court ruling against Black First Land First (BLF) sends a message that journalists are protected to do their work without fear or favour.

This was the message from the Portfolio Committee on Communications as it welcomed the interdict handed down by the South Gauteng High Court, preventing BLF from threatening journalists.

According to a press statement, the committee has always held a strong view that the intimidation of individual journalists, in any form, goes against the constitutionally enshrined freedom of the press and other media.

"It is so unfortunate that BLF supporters gathered outside the home of Mr Peter Bruce to threaten him during the dark period in the media fraternity, following the passing of SABC journalist and producer, Ms Suna Venter.

"This is because her untimely death is linked to severe stress caused by a number of threats and torture she suffered, as a member of the so-called SABC 8," said committee chairperson Humphrey Maxegwana.

Clear message

According to the statement, the committee believed that the interdict would send a clear message to everyone that South Africa is a country governed by the rule of law, and that journalists are protected to do their work without fear or favour.

Minutes after Judge Corrie van der Westhuizen ruled that the BLF is interdicted from intimidating, assaulting, and going to journalists' homes, members of BLF accosted journalists leaving the court building.

The South African National Editors Forum (Sanef) asked the court to grant an interdict against BLF after they protested outside the private home of Tiso Blackstar editor-at-large, Peter Bruce, in Johannesburg on Thursday last week.

The words "land or death" were written on his garage door and fellow journalists Tim Cohen and Karima Brown were reportedly harassed when they arrived at the scene.

This happened on the same day that the body of SABC journalist Suna Venter was discovered in her apartment in Johannesburg. She is believed to have died from stress cardiomyopathy, commonly referred to as "broken heart syndrome", a stress-related cardiac condition with the potential to cause rapid and severe heart muscle weakness.

Venter had been subjected to intimidation after she stood up against former SABC COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng's editorial policy at the SABC.

Read more on:    parliament  |  blf  |  cape town  |  media

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