SACP 14th Congress special resolution condemns intimidation of, and in, the media
28 July 2017
This Congress notes:
- The recent emergence of various groupings attempting to silence journalists and other critics of state capture, through a combination of physical violence, intimidation and web-based fake news about their private lives.
- The targets of these criminal campaigns range from the SACP`s 1st Deputy General Secretary, Comrade Solly Mapaila, to newspaper columnists Peter Bruce and Ferial Haffajee, to SABC radio producer Suna Venter, a member of the courageous SABC 8, who was literally hounded to death by anonymous supporters of illegally appointed former SABC COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng.
- These campaigns are escalating in their brazen brutality and the SAPS have been reluctant to intervene to prevent assaults and damage to property, arguing that the victims should stop "provoking" the perpetrators of these crimes.
- The targets of these campaigns, and those publicly identified by the perpetrators or on associated fake websites as intended targets, share a single characteristic: their outspoken objections to state capture and of the Gupta family`s role (and that of elements of the African National Congress) in corrupting and damaging our democratic state.
- A similar dark thread links the various gangs of perpetrators - from the "Hands off Hlaudi" grouping, the musicians who attempted to shout down his critics, the "Black First, Land First" and the bandits masquerading as MK members to the still unidentified thugs that harassed Suna Venter and her SABC 8 colleagues. This link is their association with the Gupta empire and its many beneficiaries within the state.
- The actions of these gangs constitute attempts to undermine South Africa`s democracy and the constitutionally protected right of free speech for which thousands of South Africans died, and thousands more were incarcerated.
- Further, these actions are part of an emerging neo-fascist tendency in our country.
Therefore resolves to:
- Pay tribute to the considerable courage of journalist Suna Venter who, in the year before her death, endured horrific harassment but who never wavered in her commitment to public broadcasting.
- Express our condemnation of her hounding, our deep regret at her passing away and our condolences to her family, including through a letter from the General Secretary to her family.
- Congratulate the SABC 8 for their courage and commitment and the hundreds of SABC workers who resisted Motsoeneng`s criminal abuse of the SABC - including during their silent protest on 22 July 2016 - and express appreciation for those who joined the SACP in our protests outside SABC offices in June and July 2016.
- Condemn the neo-fascist behaviour of the BFLF towards media workers.
- Support campaigns to protect media freedom.
- Investigate in our own right, and to encourage the media to investigate and definitively expose those ultimately responsible for these actions, and their links to these rent-a-thugs, neo-fascist organisations.
- Engage with the South African National Editors` Forum as necessary in support of media freedom.
- Support the Communication Workers` Union in their campaign to protect media workers.
- Support journalists the world over in their struggles for media freedom.
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