Human Rights Commission calls on BLF to respect, protect free press

This comes after BLF published a statement on its website last week, warning it would deal with certain white journalists.

The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC). Picture: www.sahrc.org.za

JOHANNESBURG - The Human Rights Commission (HRC) has called on the Black First Land First (BLF) organisation to immediately cease intimidating and harassing journalists.

The commission says BLF should respect and protect the media's right to operate without fear or favour, especially when the Constitution allows them free press.

This comes after BLF published a statement on its website last week, warning it would deal with certain white journalists.

The group released a list with the names of journalists that it has accused of supporting so-called "white monopoly capital" and it called on its members to harass them outside their homes and places of worship.

Last week, the group held a protest outside journalist Peter Bruce's home and painted the words "land or death" on his garage door.

The HRC's Gail Smith says such actions infringe human rights.

“This is a violation of two constitutional rights; the right to a free press and also the right to freedom of religion. And so it is of great concern to us that this is being done in South Africa.”

Meanwhile, the South African National Editors Forum (Sanef) has taken the legal route against the movement by applying for a court interdict against them.

The Right 2 Know Campaign’s Biko Mutsaurwa says they stand behind Sanef.

“We think that at the very least, we need to hold the organisation that is pushing this violence against journalists to account and for that reason we think that the courts must intervene.”