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Johannesburg - An attack this week on an Eastern Cape journalist was horrifying, the SA National Editors' Forum (Sanef) said on Wednesday.
“This comes after a spate of worrying attacks on journalists who were reporting on strikes in the Western Cape in recent weeks, and the intimidation of a reporter covering a protest at the University of Fort Hare by a policeman on duty there,” Sanef said in a statement.
“Together, these incidents indicate an uncalled-for hostility towards the media and journalists, who are carrying out their professional duties in keeping the public informed.”
A reporter from the Queenstown weekly The Rep, Zolile Menzelwa, was knocked down by two assailants on Sunday evening. They stood on his chest and dropped a brick on his ankle, Sanef said.
The two men warned Menzelwa to stop writing about the mayor. This pointed to political motivation for the assault, said Sanef.
Menzelwa and The Rep editor Sonja Raasch were not sure whether the attackers were referring to the recently ousted mayor - who was linked to about R7 million in missing funds - or his replacement.
The case was reported but no charge was laid, because Menzelwa could not identify his attackers.
Sanef said it was happy that Menzelwa's employers, Times Media Group, had beefed up security at his home and would raise the matter formally with the African National Congress.
“Sanef is fully behind Menzelwa and The Rep in their publication of news in the public interest, and encourages them not to buckle under pressure from those who seek to use illegal and totally unacceptable ways to keep the truth unknown,” it said. - Sapa