ANC: Arrest BLF members who've threatened journalists

ANC Chief Whip Jackson Mthembu condemned the acts of intimidation against journalists, saying that it's criminal.

ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu and Deputy Minister of Telecommunications Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams at a communications briefing at the ANC national policy conference on 5 July 2017. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The African National Congress (ANC) says that Black First Land First members who've threatened journalists should be arrested, insisting that the party fought for and respects media freedom.

ANC Chief Whip Jackson Mthembu condemned the acts of intimidation against journalists, saying that it's criminal.

However, delegates say that media self-regulation should be debated in Parliament.

Mthembu says that the ANC will be the last organisation to stop supporting media freedom.

“There is nothing that says you must go to a journalist’s house and do these silly things that they have been doing. We condemn them.”

ANC spokesperson Zizi Kodwa sat alongside his comrades on Wednesday, with a black band around his head in support of the journalists there who were standing by their colleagues who've been threatened.

Secretary-general Gwede Mantashe also highlighted the importance of the party working with the media at the close of the policy conference.

“You have kept our policy conference in the public eye, even though you report things we don’t want you to report, we must irritate each other, but work together.”

The ANC, however, says that the print media, in particular, has immense power.

Meanwhile, the South African National Editors Forum (Sanef) is heading to the High Court in Johannesburg this morning to argue for an urgent interdict against Andile Mngxitama and the BLF.

Sanef is asking the court to stop the group from harassing, intimidating and threatening journalists and editors over their reporting on alleged state capture.