Committee condemns attacks on journalists
Parliament’s Communications Committee has condemned the recent intimidation of journalists, and has sent its condolences to the family of Suna Venter, says a News24 report. Committee chairperson Humphrey Maxegwana said the committee was saddened to hear of Venter's death, adding that she had left an indelible legacy of speaking truth to power.
‘The committee is aware of the extent to which her death is linked to the intimidation and torture she was subjected to when she formed part of the SABC,’ Maxegwana said. Venter was one of eight journalists who flagged issues of widespread misconduct at the SABC that led to the parliamentary inquiry into the ailing public broadcaster. Maxegwana, also condemned the ‘mob’ – the Black First Land First (BLF) group – who protested outside veteran editor Peter Bruce's house last week.
The Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) has expressed its ‘grave concern’ at the BLF’s intimidation of journalists. ‘A free press is a cornerstone of our constitutional democracy. Any attempt to threaten or intimidate the media is an attack on our democracy and is a violation of our Constitution,’ the commission said, according to a report on the IoL site. ‘Further, section 15 of the Constitution guarantees freedom of religion, belief and opinion. As such, threats by BLF to protest at places of worship of members of the media, is an infringement of this right.’ The SAHRC called on the BLF to respect the ‘media's right to operate without fear or favour, and to immediately stop intimidating and harassing journalists'.
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