Cape Town - The South African Editors Forum (Sanef) has, through its lawyers, demanded members of the Black First Land First (BLF) movement stop threatening journalists and refrain from damaging their property.
On Friday, the BLF released a statement which targeted white members of the South African press. It was particularly scathing in its attack on journalists Peter Bruce, Sam Sole, Adriaan Basson, Stephen Grootes, Max du Preez, Barry Bateman and Alec Hogg, who it labelled “racists masquerading as journalists in defence of white monopoly capital” which it would “deal with”.
“We shall deal with each of them as rogue racists who deserve to be treated in the same manner which Bruce was treated,” the statement read.
On Thursday, Bruce, Tiso Blackstar editor-at-large, was confronted by angry BLF members outside his Johannesburg home.
Bruce has been vocal in his criticism of alleged Gupta family influence on the government. The protesters, who held up placards, demanded to know why he had not written any pieces about white monopoly capital.
They also allegedly spray painted the words “Land or death” on Bruce’s garage door.
The BLF also singled out some journalists of colour.
“In as far as black journalists who mimic these white agents of white monopoly capital, such as Ferial Haffajee, Karima Brown and Eusebius McKaiser, our message to them is that they must repent, ask for forgiveness from black people for being used by white monopoly capital”, the statement read.
Sanef chairperson Mahlatse Gallens told Weekend Argus: “We condemn unreservedly the intimidation and threats against journalists. Journalism is not a crime - state capture is.
“We see these latest threats by BLF as part of a co-ordinated campaign that we have seen over the past year to try to silence journalists.
SANEF's written to Black First Land First following their statement today in which they 'warn white journalists'.
Here's our full letter. pic.twitter.com/bW59GctVz0
Sanef reiterated journalists’ right to privacy and “the right not to have their safety and the safety of their families placed at risk”, and demanded that:
BLF and its members not conduct any gatherings or demonstrations at the private homes of the journalists mentioned in the statement.
BLF and its members refrain from harassing, intimidating or assaulting the journalists mentioned in the statement.
BLF protesters not damage any private property at the homes of the journalists mentioned in the statement.
BLF protesters not impede or otherwise block or prevent entrance to the homes of the journalists mentioned in the statement.
Sanef’s lawyers have given BLF until 12pm today to comply.