I am not a writer or a journalist, but I am a blogger.
This is a priviledge I am more than grateful for on a daily basis.
People I consider to be friends and family live inside my internet connection. People I have come to know and love. People I consider friends. Because I am allowed to blog, uncensored, I have connected with the most amazing people. Educated, opinionated, intelligent and very real people. I have come to know and love people I would never have had the opportunity to get to know, were it not for the fact that South Africa’s freedom of expression is guaranteed in our constitution. I met my fiancé through my blog!
I am not highly educated and I have little more than a very basic knowledge of our country’s constitution and laws. And most of what I do know, I have learned from some incredibly clued up bloggers!
Politics is something I almost never blog about, but Sipho Hlongwane has started something (via Chris Roper). He’s called for bloggers to stand up against the bullying of the media. There’s also a Twitter hashtag, #SpeakZA. Here’s what he asked us to post.
Last week, shocking revelations concerning the activities of the ANC Youth League spokesperson Nyiko Floyd Shivambu came to the fore. According to a letter published in various news outlets, a complaint was laid by 19 political journalists with the Secretary General of the ANC, against Shivambu. This complaint letter detailed attempts by Shivambu to leak a dossier to certain journalists, purporting to expose the money laundering practices of Dumisani Lubisi, a journalist at the City Press. The letter also detailed the intimidation that followed when these journalists refused to publish these revelations.
We condemn in the strongest possible terms the reprisals against journalists by Shivambu. His actions constitute a blatant attack on media freedom and a grave infringement on Constitutional rights. It is a disturbing step towards dictatorial rule in South Africa. We call on the ANC and the ANC Youth League to distance themselves from the actions of Shivambu. The media have, time and again, been a vital democratic
safeguard by exposing the actions of individuals who have abused their positions of power for personal and political gain.
The press have played a vital role in the liberation struggle, operating under difficult and often dangerous conditions to document some of the most crucial moments in the struggle against apartheid. It is therefore distressing to note that certain people within the ruling party are willing to maliciously target journalists by invading their privacy and threatening their colleagues in a bid to silence them in their legitimate work.
We also note the breathtaking hubris displayed by Shivambu and the ANC Youth League President Julius Malema in their response to the letter of complaint. Shivambu and Malema clearly have no respect for the media and the rights afforded to the media by the Constitution of South Africa. Such a response serves only to reinforce the position that the motive for leaking the so-called dossier was not a legitimate concern, but an insolent effort to intimidate and bully a journalist who had exposed embarrassing information about the Youth League President.
We as bloggers urge the ANC as a whole to reaffirm its commitment to media freedom and other Constitutional rights we enjoy as a country.
From what I understand, the ANCYL spokesperson, Nyiko Floyd Shivambu, tried to use the media to lambaste the man who exposed embarrassing information about the ANCYL president, Julius Malema.
Then when 19 political journalists put their names to an official complaint, the YL president himself retorted with a letter, calling the journos a mob and a nameless concerned group!
It makes me heartsore that this is the world my son has to grow up and make a life in.
Here’s a list of other bloggers speaking out: