It is with great concern that I have observed the upsurge of intimidation and harassment of journalists and those who wish for freedom of expression in our country. I would like to add my voice to the many others who have spoken out against this injustice.
These actions seem to take me back to the apartheid era, when we had to endure a repressive regime that adopted similar tactics. During that period, many brave individuals risked their lives and that of their families.
I also note the hypocrisy of the perpetrators who profess to support the ideals of the freedom speech and freedom of expression, but threaten journalists who expose them for what they are. It seems to me that so many have forgotten the massive commitment that thousands of people had to achieve our democracy, many of whom lost their lives. This appears to have been forgotten too quickly and it is extremely disappointing, and saddens me a great deal.
The recent harassment of Peter Bruce, Tim Cohen, Suna Venter and others is reprehensible. Also, in the age of a robust online environment, the intimidation has extended to internet trolling where journalists have been denigrated on various social media platforms. Any form of intimidation and harassment is unacceptable.
I urge law enforcement agencies, the courts and NGO’s to act against those who flaunt the constitutional rights of the media and individuals and, I urge fellow citizens to provide support by standing up against these bullies.
The words of Václav Havel, the first president of the Czech Republic, should provide inspiration and motivation to journalists, “Even a purely moral act that has no hope of any immediate and visible political effect can gradually and indirectly, over time, gain in political significance.”
5 July 2017