The South African presidency on Thursday joined editors in condemning recent attacks on journalists while out on assignment in various communities of the country.Minister in the Presidency, Mondli Gungubele condemned the incident when two eNCA-TV journalistswere robbed at gunpoint by armed robbers on Monday in Cape Town’s Khayelitsha township.
Journalist Natalie Malgas and camera operator Lance Manjoro were robbed outside a Khayelitsha school while covering the build-up to the local government elections.
“The media are an important factor in our democratic order and in the lives of citizens. Criminals who victimise journalists are victimising communities for whom access to information is a right and an important form of empowerment,” Gungubele said.
He added: “Communities suffer when journalists are unable to perform their assignments which often includes a focus on improving the living conditions of communities or giving a voice to people who would otherwise not be heard.”
The minister also shared the South African National Editors Forum’s concern about cyber-bullying and the abuse of social media targeting journalists.
“We fought long and hard for media freedom and we will not take lightly opportunistic or targeted crime or abuse perpetrated against journalists,” Gungubele said.
He said that it was particularly deplorable and noteworthy that this incident occurred in a week in which the country observed “Black Wednesday” – the day in 1977 in which the apartheid government cracked down on the media and freedom of expression.