Zuma vs Maughan: Sanef to picket outside court in support of News24 journalist

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  • The South African National Editors' Forum will hold a picket outside the KwaZulu-Natal High Court in support of News24's Karyn Maughan. 
  • Maughan filed an urgent application against Zuma, asking the court to scrap his private prosecution against her in its entirety. 
  • The matter will continue on Wednesday. 

The South African National Editors' Forum (Sanef) and various civil society organisations are expected to stage a picket in support of News24's Karyn Maughan as she seeks to have the private prosecution matter brought by former president Jacob Zuma struck off the roll.

Maughan filed an urgent application against Zuma, asking the KwaZulu-Natal High Court to scrap his private prosecution against her in its entirety. 

State advocate Billy Downer made a similar application.

The matter was set down for Monday and Wednesday, with most submissions completed by Monday afternoon.

Maughan seeks to stop the private prosecution against her, a move Sanef supports.

READ | Court hears Zuma 'fabricated evidence', revived NPA plot claims in case against Maughan, Downer

In a statement, Sanef said Maughan was a journalist who was doing her job, something that Zuma and his legal team refuse to accept. 

Sanef said it supported the view that the charges had no merit and should be dismissed. 

It said:

Maughan’s constitutional rights have been abused by this private prosecution. Media freedom is paramount in our constitutional democracy; hence there is a need to defend it all the time. Sanef will be outside the court on Wednesday to show solidarity with Maughan.

Various civil society organisations had indicated their support, as they saw the importance of upholding media freedom and allowing journalists to freely do their work, Sanef said.

"All organisations are united against this targeting and attempt to intimidate Maughan. Sanef will always speak out against anyone seeking to silence journalists. Sanef believes in the ability of our judiciary to spot any abuses of the courts, which we believe is what this private prosecution is doing," it added. 

It stressed that female journalists like Maughan faced vicious attacks online, where they were harassed and bullied.

"We have also noted how gender-based violence is evident in various spaces and online, where women are body-shamed and called all kinds of names. Sanef notes the social media charter that was recently launched by the SA Human Rights Commission, which we hope would assist in deterring bullies that use social media for their nefarious agendas."

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