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Sanef says Malema must apologise to Brown, EFF calls her an 'operative'

Sanef says the unwarranted attacks on Karima Brown are similar to the previous attacks by the EFF and its supporters on women journalists, and is "a clear example of the attack on media freedom".

Karima Brown. Picture: Radio702

JOHANNESBURG - The South African Editors' Forum (Sanef) has expressed outrage and shock over attacks levelled at journalist Karima Brown after Economic Freedom Fighters' (EFF) leader Julius Malema released her cellphone number on social media.

Late on Tuesday evening, Malema tweeted a WhatsApp screenshot of an EFF media statement's group conversation in which Brown accidentally posted and deleted a message, following a statement that was sent to the group. Sanef said through its statement Brown's message was meant for a journalist group instead.

The statement was a media advisory for a breakfast event for elders to be hosted by the EFF on Wednesday, 6 March.

"We call on Julius Malema and the entire EFF leadership to apologise to Karima Brown," Sanef said.

After Malema's tweet, Sanef said, Brown began receiving disturbing messages.

"Supporters began a barrage of insults against her – calling her among other derogatory names 'an Indian whore and bitch' and levelling insults, threatening her life, and accusing her of allegedly sending moles to spy on them," the forum said.

"We call on the EFF leadership to stop with this vicious attack on the media and allow journalists to do their work without fear and intimidation. The attacks on women in media in particular and the abuse levelled against them is contrary to the spirit of wanting to protect women in a country where violence against women has reached pandemic levels," Sanef said.

"Only yesterday the EFF stood tall and condemned the abuse levelled against artist Babes Wodumo."

Sanef reminded Malema of the time journalist Jaques Pauw tweeted the Johannesburg physical address and picture of a house owned by controversial businessman, Adriano Mazzotti. The forum condemned the act at the time.

EFF RESPONDS

The EFF on Wednesday also released a statement on the matter, defending its actions.

It said it has long considered Brown an openly admitted ANC operative and not a journalist.

The party has dismissed the theory that Brown’s message was meant for eNCA journalists; “We know for a fact that Karima Brown holds no editorial positions, not even an assignment editor’s position at the eNCA. We urge the eNCA to explain in what capacity, she would be briefing journalists who are going on assignments to cover EFF meetings”.

“Our argument is with her, because we believe she holds no position, anywhere, to be deploying journalists to cover any news… If Karima Brown is no official editor, and yet the eNCA allows her to hold such power, they must say so.”

‘A CLEAR EXAMPLE OF THE ATTACK ON MEDIA FREEDOM’

Through its statement, Sanef added the unwarranted attacks on Brown were similar to the previous attacks by the EFF and its supporters on women journalists, and was "a clear example of the attack on media freedom".

"Sanef is concerned that attacks against journalists are escalating and calls on political parties and those elected to lead not to use journalists as pawns in their political infighting and/ or to cover up corruption. In the run-up to the
elections highly contested hot-spots often pose a threat to the safety of journalists."

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