My door is open, says defiant Malema

By Time of article published Apr 8, 2010

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African National Congress Youth League chief Julius Malema said on Thursday night that he was not "remorseful" about chasing BBC journalist Jonah Fisher from a media briefing.

"We are not remorseful on our stance (sic) and will never be remorseful about disrespectful journalists; particularly from countries whose media always undermine the credibility and integrity of African leaders," Malema said in a statement.

Malema said he had been provoked by Fisher's comments.

"In the process answering to questions, a white guy, whom we later discovered is a reporter from the British Broadcasting Corporation, interjected when we were expressing the disgust over the fact that Movement for Democratic Change is throwing insults at the ANC Youth League leadership from air-conditioned offices in Sandton, whilst the masses are on the ground in Zimbabwe."

"He, in a very scornful way, responded by saying 'but you stay in Sandton'."

Malema said he became "agitated" when Fisher did not back down.

He said, though, that the ANCYL would be willing to talk to Fisher if he wanted to apologise.

"Our doors are, however, open for engagement with the journalist if he intends to render an apology and we will from there decide what will happen."

Malema also lashed out at the way the media reported on the incident.

"We are disturbed on how most media houses have portrayed a distorted picture on what exactly happened. They presented a picture that we just responded to the journalists without provocation and that is mischievous."

He said the ANCYL would defend free speech and media freedom, but that it "should be expressed within certain confines".

"We respect the rights of journalists to openly engage on whatever issue they deem suitable, but they should not be disrespectful." - Sapa

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