13 April 2024 | 02:39 AM

AmaBhungane condemns police visits to newspapers’ offices

Key Takeaways

The M&G Centre for Investigative Journalism (amaBhungane) shares the concerns raised by the South African National Editors’ Forum yesterday regarding the recent visit to the Sunday Times and Star newspaper offices by members of the SAPS. The visits appear to have been intimidatory, designed to have a chilling effect on the news media’s ability to access and share information in the public interest.

The visits were reportedly prompted by a complaint from the managing director of Pikitup, Amanda Nair, after reports of financial impropriety involving the municipal entity. The news reports were based on the findings of a forensic report obtained by the two newspapers. Amanda Nair alleges that the report was illegally obtained. The Sunday Times and The Star disagree.

While there may be a legitimate basis for a dispute, the police visit appears to be a case of shooting the messenger.

We join SANEF in urging the SAPS and national police commissioner Riah Phiyega to censure the relevant officers and to proscribe Ms Nair or anyone else for that matter from enlisting its officers for similar purposes in future.

Journalism’s potency lies in its ability to speak truth to power without fear or favour. Its value cannot be realised if journalists are threatened, bullied or silenced.

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Before joining the amaBhungane team in 2017, Micah was the national coordinator for media freedom and diversity at the Right2Know Campaign. He holds a Masters in African Studies from Oxford University and a BA Honours in History from Wits University.

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