Editors tackle EFF over 'hate speech' towards journalists

Julius Malema

The EFF and its leader, Julius Malema, have enabled an environment in which intimidation and harassment of journalists has been tolerated and encouraged.

This is one of the submissions made by the South African National Editors' Forum (Sanef) and five journalists in their application before the Equality Court,in the Pretoria High Court on Monday.

Sanef and the journalists want the court to declare that statements Malema made outside the state capture commission in Johannesburg in November 2018 be declared hate speech.

They also want Malema and the EFF to apologise for the utterances.

The journalists are Ranjeni Munusamy, Adriaan Basson, Pauli van Wyk, Max du Preez and Barry Bateman.

In his address outside the commission last year, Malema urged his supporters to "attack" and to "occupy every house, every space in society", including social media platforms.

Daniel Berger SC, counsel for Sanef, told the court the complainants had set out in detail how they had been affected by the actions of the EFF and Malema.

Berger said Malema, the EFF and its followers had made threatening statements and tweets, which targeted the complainants because of their reporting.

"This has created an environment which is toxic and hostile towards journalists. The respondents (EFF and Malema) have done nothing, and at times endorsed what their followers have said," Berger said.

Malema and the EFF are opposing the application.

The matter continues.

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