Andile Mngxitama File picture: Masi Losi/ANA Pictures

Johannesburg - The South African National Editors’ Forum (Sanef) has called on members of the media and sympathisers to come and show support for media freedom by wearing black armbands when the organisation’s urgent application against Black First Land First (BLF) is heard on Thursday.

Sanef filed an urgent application against BLF and its founder, Andile Mngxitama, at the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg on Tuesday. 

BLF is widely seen as defenders, and beneficiaries, of the largesse bestowed by the controversial Gupta family. 

The other co-applicants in the interdict are Sam Sole, partner at investigative journalism unit, amaBhungane, Adriaan Basson, News24 editor; Stephen Grootes, Talk Radio 702 presenter; independent journalist Max du Preez; Eyewitness News (EWN) editor Katy Katopodis; and EWN reporter Barry Bateman.

"Sanef calls on all journalists attending the court proceedings to wear black armbands, or come dressed in black as a sign of solidarity," the organisation said in a statement Wednesday. 

"Sanef has asked the court to interdict BLF and Mngxitama from harassing, intimidating, assaulting and threatening 11 senior journalists, editors and commentators that have been targeted for their reporting on state capture."

This comes after BLF members held a protest at the private house of Tiso Blackstar editor-at-large, Peter Bruce, last Thursday and allegedly intimidated and harassed Business Day editor, Tim Cohen, and political commentator Karima Brown.

BLF has since threatened more editors and journalists with similar protests at their private homes and have referred to Brown, Huffington Post South Africa editor-at-large, Ferial Haffajee, and Talk Radio 702 presenter Eusebius McKaiser as “askaris” (traitor).

Sanef has asked the court to interdict BLF and Mngxitama from gathering outside the homes of these journalists; from threatening these journalists with violence on social media, and from inciting harm against the journalists in any public interviews.

Sanef’s application was served on BLF and Mngxitama, who will now have the opportunity to file answering papers before the matter is heard by the high court.