Blogs 4 Free Press

Sipho Hlongwane, who writes at ThoughtLeader, is calling on bloggers to join him on Wednesday, 24 March, in publishing a message to the ANC and the ANC Youth League. Email him at sipho.hlongwane@gmail.com to get further details.

Here is his appeal, grabbed from Chris Roper’s blog:

Bloggers For a Free Press

I’m sure you’re aware by now of the slander campaign launched by the ANC Youth League’s spokesperson Nyiko Floyd Shivambu against journalists they perceive to be against the Youth League. This campaign is especially directed against City Press journalist Dumisani Lubisi. You’ll remember that he was instrumental in exposing Julius Malema’s interests in various companies.

The move taken by the ANCYL is disturbing, especially their response to the letter written by 19 of the country’s most influential political journalists, asking the ANC to distance itself from the actions of the Youth League and Floyd Shivambu, where they basically told these journalists to sod off. More than that, Shivambu then threatened the journalists who refused to run his slanderous story.

This is a definite step towards dictatorial rule. I for one, am not willing to sit idly by as people in our ruling party flagrantly infringe on media freedom and other Constitutional rights.

I’ve invited a number of South African bloggers to publish a message to the ANC and the Youth League on Wednesday, condemning the actions of Shivambu and calling on them to distance themselves from such practices. We also reminds the ANC of the vital role played by the the press in the liberation struggle.

If you’re a South African blogger and are interested in joining, then drop me an email at sipho.hlongwane@gmail.com. Alternately, you can reach me on Twitter (@ComradeSipho). I’ll fill you in with further details and put you on the SpeakZA mailing list.

If you’re on Twitter, the hashtag is #SpeakZA. Let’s get the word out there.

[I'd like to add that this issue is not about perceptions, as in "journalists they perceive to be against the Youth League". Freedom of expression and a free press are rights independent of uncomfortable public figures' perceptions. Journalists are/should be free to express critical views of politicians and other public figures. They are/should be free to be "against" any public figure, and to have an agenda, in actuality. - RK]

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