IF ALLEGATIONS that ANC Youth League spokesperson Floyd Shivambu tried to blackmail journalists into writing stories based on untested information is true we need to be alarmed.
I hold no brief for journalists who bring the profession into disrepute by accepting bribes and other favours. These journalists are scumbags, who should be exposed and barred from practising.
But the misdemeanours of some should not be used to tar the entire profession with the same brush. It should also not be an excuse to launch vicious personal attacks on journalists, but to close the democratic space that was opened by the gallant struggles of principled journalists such as Sol Plaatjie, Percy Qoboza and Jimmy Seepe, to mention a few.
At times some people in the media violate the rights of people by their over-zealousness to grab headlines through sensationalism and "bending of the truth".
Occasionally the media writes about things that make us uncomfortable or that we do not want known.
This, however, does not give us licence to launch diatribes against journalists or even subject them to investigations.
To paraphrase President Jacob Zuma, should this be true, it is shocking and an affront to all democrats who sacrificed their lives for the freedom we now seem to take for granted.
I hope the ANC will investigate the allegations against its youth body and that measures will be taken to rebuild relations between the ANCYL and the media.
Mogomotsi Mogodiri, Johannesburg