Dr Iqbal Survé condemns intimidation of journalists and editors
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In a recent presentation by Independent Media to parliament's Standing Committee on Finance (SCoF), Independent Media outlined its concern for media freedom in South Africa.
The company outlined to parliament how its purpose of transforming the media landscape in the country has been resisted by numerous institutions in business, government, and many competitor media companies.
Threats to media freedom, however, come in various guises.
In the last while, a more ominous danger that is pervading the newsrooms is the promise of direct physical harm to several Independent Media journalists and editors.
Recently, threats were made on the life of one of Independent Media’s editors in Gauteng, followed by a further threat of abduction and murder of the editor of one of the company’s largest daily newspapers in the country.
Additionally, there have also been attempts to burgle the houses of some editors. All such cases have been reported to the South African Police Services (SAPS) and it is hoped that investigations would be expedited.
Independent Media’s executive chairman Dr Iqbal Survé observed: “Several urgent security and protective measures have been put in place to safeguard our editors. It is sad that our country has come to the point where we now have to have security guards for our editors who have come under threat because of their courageousness in exposing wrongdoing by powerful people in the country. This is a blatant attack on media freedom.
“Despite the dangers, we, like our colleagues across the South African media landscape, will continue to do everything possible to safeguard the well-being of our journalists in their pursuit of truth.”
Aneez Salie, editor-in-chief of Independent Media stated: “Our democracy is facing a very difficult phase and when the media in South Africa begin to experience more frequent attempts of intimidation and outright violence, we know that a true free press is in jeopardy, as too, our hard-fought egalitarian society.”
Independent Media is not alone in its experience of intimidation and threats to journalists and editors. However, it has also had reports of executives and some of the directors of the company having been targeted.
The company called upon the authorities to act swiftly and to find those responsible and not leave any stone unturned in rooting out the despicable attempts to destroy media freedom.
Laying down the gauntlet to those who would further destabilise the country, the company, through Dr Survé and Salie, confirmed that they stood united in their belief that the pen is mightier than the sword and that they will continue to expose wrongdoing, talk truth to power, give readers the facts they have a right to know, and always provide all sides of a story.
Independent Media remains committed to a transformative narrative and media freedom.