Editors defend Karima Brown after death threats from EFF supporters

EFF leader Julius Malema.
EFF leader Julius Malema.

The South African National Editors' Forum (Sanef) has defended  senior journalist and TV host Karima Brown after EFF supporters sent threatening messages to her on her phone.

The attacks on Brown started on Tuesday night after EFF leader Julius Malema posted Brown's contact number on his Twitter timeline.

Brown mistakenly posted a watching brief meant for her eNCA colleagues to the EFF media WhatsApp group.

Malema posted a screengrab of the message on Twitter and wrote: "Karima Brown is sending moles to our breakfast with elders tomorrow, she incidentally sends the message to the @EFFSouthAfrica media WhatsApp group and deleted it immediately."

Brown complained that this resulted in her receiving threatening messages from Malema's supporters.

"Malema published the cell phone number of Brown and shortly thereafter his supporters began a barrage of insults against her – calling her, among other derogatory names, 'an Indian whore and bitch', and levelling insults, threatening her life, and accusing her of sending moles to spy on them. This after Brown accidentally posted a message on an EFF WhatsApp group. The message was meant for a journalist group instead," Sanef said in a statement.

"We call on the EFF leadership to stop with this vicious attack on the media and allow journalists to do their work without fear and intimidation. The attacks on women in media in particular and the abuse levelled against them is contrary to the spirit of wanting to protect women in a country where violence against women has reached pandemic levels."

Malema told TimesLIVE he would not apologise because Brown "is not a journalist, she is not an editor and she is not an assignment editor".

"I think she is working for state security. I cannot prove the allegations, but I am saying I think.

"The questions in her message were crafted in such a way that they are suspicious and that is how intelligence operatives write. That is why we had to raise the alarm."

Malema said he "exposed" Brown because he believed she was putting the lives of elderly people in danger by asking for details of how they were selected to be part of the breakfast.

Brown has spoken out about threats by alleged EFF supporters.

She also said she would not be intimidated by Malema.

"For our freedom and the freedom of the media in this country. Today it's me. Tomorrow it's you. It won't stop. If I crumble, the entire profession is at risk," she said.

A number of senior journalists also condemned the EFF's behaviour and pledged solidarity with Brown.

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