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Johannesburg - The South African Communist Party has unequivocally condemned intimidation, trolling, or online harassment of journalists, including on, but not limited to, social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, and any form of incitement and threat of physical or non-physical harm against them.

"This unacceptable and anti-intellectual conduct resurfaced recently outside the Commission of Inquiry investigating the corruption of state capture, and has since been relentlessly pursued in various forms," the SACP said in a statement on Saturday.

It was part and parcel of the demagogic mobilisation unleashed against, among others, Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan who testified against the corruption of state capture at the commission. The corruption left key public entities bankrupt or insolvent, and drove South Africa to the brink of financial collapse. Gordhan was leading the national executive effort to uproot the corruption in state-owned enterprises, the SACP said.  

"Media practitioners who have been intimidated or threatened for covering developments around the imperative of uprooting the corruption of state capture and for exercising their constitutional freedom of expression include Karima Brown, journalist, talk show host at Radio702 and analyst at eNCA; Pauli van Wyk, journalist with Daily Maverick’s investigative team; Ranjeni Munusamy, associate editor – analysis at Tiso Blackstar Group; and Adriaan Basson, editor-in-chief at News24. 

"The SACP, the party of Ruth First, journalist, academic, and political activist, reaffirms its unwavering support for a free press. First was murdered by a letter bomb in what could only have been the work of the anti-free press apartheid regime through its security agencies," the SACP said.  

The list of media practitioners who had recently been isolated, intimidated, and/or threatened exposed the "nasty fight back", which was pursued under the guise of the so-called “superior logic”, as also racist, chauvinist, and sexist. 

"The SACP urges South Africans to unite against the regressive tendency, close ranks, and defend, advance, and deepen transformation to achieve our national vision of a non-racial, non-sexist, and prosperous society. The party stands for non-exploitative individual and collective prosperity, and will intensify the programme until our national vision is fully achieved and irreversibly secured," the SACP said.

African News Agency (ANA)