Veteran journo Karima Brown lays intimidation charge against an EFF member

Vetern journalist Karima Brown.
Vetern journalist Karima Brown.
Image: Gallo Images / Beeld / Felix Dlangamandla

Veteran journalist Karima Brown has laid a charge of intimidation against an EFF member after allegedly receiving threats.  

Police spokesperson Captain Kay Makhubele confirmed that a case of intimidation was being investigated but could not say who the suspect was. “At the moment we have not arrested or charged anyone, so we can't reveal the name of the suspect until they appear in a court of law."

This comes after EFF leader Julius Malema sparked an outpouring of abuse against her from his supporters. Brown was verbally abused and received threatening messages after her cellphone number was published on Twitter. Brown seemingly posted an editorial brief in an EFF media WhatsApp group after the party posted an invitation to an EFF "Breakfast With The Elderly" function scheduled for Wednesday.

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. Sanef said in a statement:  "Malema published the cellphone 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.

"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 SowetanLIVE sister publication 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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