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Wed Sep 28 00:22:47 SAST 2016

Editor of Gupta-owned newspaper worries about journalists' safety after EFF ban

Tmg Digital | 04 February, 2016 16:52
Moegsien Williams and Gerry Elsdon at the launch of the ANN7 news channel
Image by: JAMES OATWAY

Editor of The New Age Moegsien Williams says his newspaper will not report on the Economic Freedom Fighters if the party cannot guarantee the safety of his reporters.

He declared that the EFF’s attack on journalists employed by the Gupta family at The New Age and television channel ANN7 was “a declaration of war”.

“Julius Malema is our very own Donald Trump‚” Williams was quoted as saying on ANN7’s twitter feed‚ in a debate following the threat by the EFF’s leader that journalists working for Gupta companies would be banned from the party’s events.

While Malema had his own rights to freedom of expression‚ Williams invited him to reconsider his position.

“It is a very sad situation and we hope that he will reconsider his decision‚

“If the EFF cannot guarantee safety of our staff‚ unfortunately we will not be covering them‚” Williams said.

“The safety of our reporters is paramount.”

In a statement‚ the South African National Editors' Forum said it noted with concern the "dangerous remarks" made by Malema against journalists employed by ANN7 and The New Age.

"The SANEF urges the EFF not to ban journalists working for Gupta-owned media from covering EFF events and press conferences and to reaffirm the rights to media freedom and association‚” said Adriaan Basson‚ Sanef's Media Freedom Committee chairperson‚ said in a statement.

"The EFF is entitled to its views about media owners‚ but should allow journalists to conduct their work without fear and in a climate conducive to the free exchange of information."

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