Allegations of threats on the lives of senior staff at the Daily Dispatch newspaper, including its editor Bongani Siqoko are a cause for serious concern and require urgent investigation by the South African Police Services (SAPS).
The threats coincide with the newspaper’s consistent reporting on corruption in the province, such as the Siyenza toilet tender scandal. Yesterday, in a statement, the ANC accused the newspaper of a media plot to “tarnish” and “collapse” the Eastern Cape government.
According to Siqoko, security experts have since confirmed the threats on Daily Dispatch senior staff as credible and needing to be taken seriously. Times Media Group has bolstered security measures for all staff affected.
This matter now needs to be investigated by SAPS to determine the person(s) behind the threats, and the perpetrators prosecuted.
Threats on the lives of journalists are not only criminal, but an assault on media freedom as enshrined in the Bill of Rights.
Intimidation and threats of violence against the media cannot be tolerated in a constitutional democracy.
In order for our democracy to prosper, it is essential that we have a free press that reports without fear or intimidation.
We trust that SAPS will deal with this matter with the seriousness it requires.
Phumzile van Damme
DA National Spokesperson
Source : Democratic Alliance