As published in Daily Maverick
The Equality Court has postponed the hate speech case against African National Congress Youth League spokesperson Floyd Shivambu. They should not however be hearing this case at all – regardless of the fact that Shivambu appears to be a sexist and a racist, and that his speech might be hurtful towards Carien du Plessis or other journalists he has targeted in the past. Continue reading “Floyd Shivambu and ‘hate speech’ against Carien du Plessis”
Last week, shocking revelations concerning the activities of the ANC Youth League spokesperson Nyiko Floyd Shivambu came to the fore. According to a letter published in various news outlets, a complaint was laid by 19 political journalists with the Secretary General of the ANC, against Shivambu. This complaint letter detailed attempts by Shivambu to leak a dossier to certain journalists, purporting to expose the money laundering practices of Dumisani Lubisi, a journalist at the City Press. The letter also detailed the intimidation that followed when these journalists refused to publish these revelations.
We condemn in the strongest possible terms the reprisals against journalists by Shivambu. His actions constitute a blatant attack on media freedom and a grave infringement on Constitutional rights. It is a disturbing step towards dictatorial rule in South Africa. We call on the ANC and the ANC Youth League to distance themselves from the actions of Shivambu. The media have, time and again, been a vital democratic safeguard by exposing the actions of individuals who have abused their positions of power for personal and political gain.
The press have played a vital role in the liberation struggle, operating under difficult and often dangerous conditions to document some of the most crucial moments in the struggle against apartheid. It is therefore distressing to note that certain people within the ruling party are willing to maliciously target journalists by invading their privacy and threatening their colleagues in a bid to silence them in their legitimate work.
We also note the breathtaking hubris displayed by Shivambu and the ANC Youth League President Julius Malema in their response to the letter of complaint. Shivambu and Malema clearly have no respect for the media and the rights afforded to the media by the Constitution of South Africa. Such a response serves only to reinforce the position that the motive for leaking the so-called dossier was not a legitimate concern, but an insolent effort to intimidate and bully a journalist who had exposed embarrassing information about the Youth League President. We urge the ANC as a whole to reaffirm its commitment to media freedom and other Constitutional rights we enjoy as a country.
Bloggers For a Free Press
I’m sure you’re aware by now of the slander campaign launched by the ANC Youth League’s spokesperson Nyiko Floyd Shivambu against journalists they perceive to be against the Youth League. This campaign is especially directed against City Press journalist Dumisani Lubisi. You’ll remember that he was instrumental in exposing Julius Malema’s interests in various companies.
The move taken by the ANCYL is disturbing, especially their response to the letter written by 19 of the country’s most influential political journalists, asking the ANC to distance itself from the actions of the Youth League and Floyd Shivambu, where they basically told these journalists to sod off. More than that, Shivambu then threatened the journalists who refused to run his slanderous story.
This is a definite step towards dictatorial rule. I for one, am not willing to sit idly by as people in our ruling party flagrantly infringe on media freedom and other Constitutional rights.
I’ve invited a number of South African bloggers to publish a message to the ANC and the Youth League on Wednesday, condemning the actions of Shivambu and calling on them to distance themselves from such practices. We also reminds the ANC of the vital role played by the the press in the liberation struggle.
If you’re a South African blogger and are interested in joining, then drop me an email at [email protected] Alternately, you can reach me on Twitter (@ComradeSipho). I’ll fill you in with
further details and put you on the SpeakZA mailing list.
If you’re on Twitter, the hashtag is #SpeakZA. Let’s get the word out there.