22 September 2022
Statement on the continued harassment and attacks on journalists in Plettenberg Bay
JOHANNESBURG, 22 September 2022 – Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) strongly condemns the despicable attacks on journalists in Plettenberg Bay. MMA has been made aware of a number of instances in which journalists from The Herald and Ground Up news publications were harassed and intimidated by some members of the community for merely doing their job of news reporting. This behaviour has become a growing trend in our country, where journalists – especially women – are harassed, intimidated, demeaned, and attacked, both on and offline.
In the most recent incident, a reporter from The Herald, an Eastern Cape based publication, was forced to flee her home because of threats and ongoing intimidation by community members in the area of KwaNokuthula, Plettenberg Bay. Whilst doing her job of covering a protest, she was accosted, pushed around and castigated, and had her footage deleted. There were threats to break her phone and physically assault her when she protested deleting her footage. Another journalist, who reports for the online publication Ground Up in the same area as the journalist from The Herald, had her home visited by angry community members, who threatened her and her family for her reportage on attacks on foreign nationals in the Plettenberg Bay area.
These attacks are not the first against our journalists, and they follow continued harassment and threats against journalists from a range of other media, including Karyn Maughan. Attacks on journalists are especially egregious as they don’t only cause harm against the individuals but they may serve to silence, censor, and deny access to information and freedom of expression. Whether people agree with the journalists or not denying them their right to report means key stories may not be told, allowing those who seek to undermine democracy to get away with their crimes. It is critical if we are to remain a democracy that our media and journalists are allowed to move freely and report in a professional ethical manner without hindrance and threats. Denial of these rights also undermines the ability of the state to function as it should, it perpetuates misogyny and poses a clear threat to businesses to operate as they should. Accordingly when journalists are threatened our democracy is threatened and so it mustn’t be just media freedom groups that critique but all those who have a vested interest in our democracy.
We, therefore, call on the following institutions to equally condemn these attacks and work towards effective and sustainable solutions to this scourge.
Without credible journalism there can be no democracy .
The South African Human Rights Commission
The South African Police Service – Minister Bheki Cele/Commissioner
The Commission for Gender Equality
Black Business Council
Business Leadership South Africa
Business Unity South Africa
The Plettenberg Bay Business Chamber
Local businesses in the area
All political parties.
For further information, please contact:
Azola Dayile: +27 65 891 7220
Or William Bird: +27 82 887 1370
Media Monitoring Africa‘s vision is a responsible, quality media that enables an engaged and informed citizenry in Africa and across the world. MMA aims to promote the development of a free, fair, ethical and critical media culture in South Africa and the rest of the continent. To achieve MMA’s vision, the three key areas that MMA seeks to address through a human rights-based approach are: media ethics, media quality and media freedom.