The Helen Suzman Foundation said it was "shocked" at the level of abuse directed at well-known journalist Karima Brown over the past few days. Picture: Ian Landsberg/ANA

Durban - The Helen Suzman Foundation said on Thursday it was "shocked" at the level of abuse directed at well-known journalist Karima Brown over the past few days.

"We condemn this in the strongest possible terms," said the foundation via an email statement. 

The latest attack on Brown began this week when EFF leader Julius Malema took to Twitter to accuse her of sending "moles" to a campaign meeting the party was holding with "elders" in Erkuhuleni's Ward 6. 

Brown had tried to post a brief of the event to colleagues at eNCA, where she hosts a weekly show on politics, but mistakenly sent it to the EFF's WhatsApp group.

In retaliation, Malema published Brown's mobile phone number, which led to EFF supporters unleashing a stream of vitriol, wherein they allegedly threatened Brown with rape and made racial attacks against her. 

The Suzman foundation said it had also taken note of the abuse directed by supporters of the EFF at other journalists in recent months.

"This conduct is in direct conflict with Section 16 of the Constitution, which provides for the freedom of the press and other media. At the same time, Section 16 also specifically states that the right to freedom of expression does not extend to the 'advocacy of hatred that is based on race, ethnicity, gender or religion and that constitutes incitement to cause harm,'" said the statement. 

"We note that the South African National Editors’ Forum (SANEF) lodged a complaint in the Equality Court last year against the EFF, following threats against journalists. We trust that this case will be heard in the near future. We also expect government to take a more forceful public stand against any attempts to intimidate or threaten journalists."

African News Agency (ANA)