Journos fight ANCYL man's 'intimidation'

By Time of article published Mar 17, 2010

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A group of South African journalists lodged a complaint against ANC Youth League spokesman Floyd Shivambu on Wednesday for allegedly intimidating reporters with threats of leaking private information about them.

"His behaviour constitutes an attack on several freedoms including media freedom, and presents a danger to constitutional provisions South Africans enjoy.

"It also amounts to intimidation especially if one considers his threat to make public so called embarrassing information about the private lives of reporters," read the complaint submitted to ANC

secretary general Gwede Mantashe, to President Jacob Zuma's communications advisor Zizi Kodwa and to Vuyiswa Tulelo, the league's secretary general.

In the complaint, they state that Shivambu offered some of them a dossier containing the personal information of reporter Dumisani Lubisi.

When they questioned its veracity and refused to publish it, Shivambu was alleged to have said "you next".

They also referred to a recent press conference on league president Julius Malema's lifestyle.

At that conference, Malema accused journalists of unethical behaviour - of receiving "brown envelopes" and of reporters having sex with people to get information.

"Comments about their salaries, credit worthy status and sexual behaviour were made without a shred of evidence," the complaint continued.

They rejected colleagues who accept money or payment for writing slanted stories, and encouraged anyone who could prove that ethics

had been violated, to report it to the relevant authorities, editors or watchdog bodies.

"However, we believe that Shivambu's actions was less about exposing unethical behaviour in the media, and had more to do with wanting to silence us with threats of public embarrassment over our

private lives.

"We wish to place it on record that Shivambu's efforts sought to intimidate political journalists from doing their legitimate work."

The journalists were also concerned about the league's apparent access to confidential information relating to their private lives.

"The candour with which they rattled off confidential information points to a larger sinister pattern. If one accepts even for a minute that any of the information in the ANC youth league's possession is true, questions arise about how it was accessed and how a political organisation could obtain it without

breaking the law."

They want a public apology from Shivambu, for the league to reveal how it got its information and to answer whether state resources were used.

The journalists who lodged the complaint were: Business Day's Karima Brown and Wilson Johwa; Independent Newspapers' Moshoeshoe Monare, Gaye Davis, Xolani Mbanjwa and Carien du Plessis; Mail and Guardian's Rapule Tabane and Mandy Rossouw; The Times/Sunday Times' Moipone Malefane, Sthembiso Msomi and Nkululeko Ncana; 702's Stephen Grootes; City Press' Moffet Mofokeng, Piet Rampedi, Dumisani Lubisi, Japhet Ncube and George Matlala; Media24's Chandre Prince; and eNews' Hajra Omarjee.

Comment from Shivambu was not immediately available. - Sapa

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