TWO eNews journalists at the centre of a controversial story featuring self-confessed criminals threatening violence during the 2010 Fifa Soccer World Cup are off the hook - for now.
Subpoenas served on the e.tv news editor Ben Said and reporter Mpho Lakaje were provisionally withdrawn yesterday, just before the pair were due to appear in court.
An agreement was reached outside court between eNews and the police for the South African National Editors' Forum to mediate in the matter.
Said and Lakaje are expected to make presentations to the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) on why they shouldn't be prosecuted.
The two were subpoenaed last week to appear in the Johannesburg magistrate's court to provide police with information that would lead to the arrests of the two men in the footage.
The story, which was aired two weeks ago, showed two thugs vowing to rob tourists and shoot their way out of trouble with the police during the soccer tournament. Although their identities were concealed, one of the men has since been arrested. He appeared in court yesterday.
Said told reporters outside court: "We are very pleased. We have always believed this is the way it should have been handled.
"There was an agreement between ourselves, Sanef and DPP. There is going to be some sort of mediation between our attorneys through Sanef and the prosecution."
National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Mthunzi Mhanga said: "There is a consultative process unfolding now.
"e.tv will make presentations about their concerns. For now, the subpoena has been put on hold."
Sanef media freedom chairperson Thabo Leshilo said: "This is a good development."
Leshilo said he hoped yesterday's agreement would also apply in the case against a Daily Dispatch journalist subpoenaed to appear before a court in the Eastern Cape on Friday.
Daily Dispatch reporter Asa Sokopo has also been served with a subpoena to appear in court to provide police with information relating to a story she wrote on King Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo's secession battle.