Press statement: The Professional Journalists’ Association condemns ANC Youth League (ANCYL) president Julius Malema’s recent inexcusable behaviour towards BBC journalist Jonah Fisher, whom he had evicted from a news conference, calling him “a bastard” and “a bloody agent”. [Watch the video here]
The Association further strongly condemns the continued ill-treatment of the media by figures in the ANCYL, including its spokesperson Floyd Shivambu, and is concerned that fellow journalists stood by while Fisher was evicted. The Association calls on its colleagues in the media to be vigilant, and to show solidarity with peers who are subjected to abuse and intimidation by taking a firm stand against such behaviour. ProJourn supports the National Press Club’s call for journalists to walk out if such behaviour is repeated at any conference held by any organisation.
Malema’s conduct is an affront to media freedom and undermines journalists’ right to receive and impart information as enshrined in South Africa’s Constitution. The actions of the Youth League president are an attempt to intimidate the media, to prevent them from asking uncomfortable questions or expressing views which differ from those of his organisation.
Malema’s actions also fly in the face of President Jacob Zuma’s condemnation of the Youth League’s intimidation tactics, which included threats to reveal personal information about journalists’ lives (a matter which is ongoing). ProJourn calls upon President Zuma to take a stand in this matter, and demonstrate the maturity of leadership this country needs by taking Malema to task, and ensuring his behaviour is not repeated.
>> Hear hear, says MarkLives.