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EFF vs Sanef: ‘Don’t take me seriously’, Julius Malema and lawyers argue

EFF vs Sanef: ‘Don’t take me seriously’, Julius Malema and lawyers argue

Julius Malema, Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) / Photo by Luke Daniel, TheSouthAfrican.com Day one of the EFF vs the South African National Editor’s Forum (Sanef) in court saw both sides lay out their arguments in emphatic fashion. Reporters and media representatives are going toe-to-toe with party leader Julius Malema, who they have accused of causing a “chilling effect” in newsrooms . The collection of journalists, who have been on the end of stinging verbals from Julius Malema and his cronies, include Ranjeni Munsamy, Adriaan Basson, Pauli Van Wyk, Max du Preez and Barry Bateman. They want some of Juju’s language declared as hate speech by the Equality Court , forcing him and his party into an apology. The organisation alleges that Malema and the EFF have attempted to silence critical reports through threats of violence. Malema and his legal team, however, argue that media agencies and reporters have targeted the EFF as part of a political plot to sway public opinion against the Red Berets. Journalists vs Julius Malema – the story so far: What Sanef have argued The group believe that Malema’s so-called threats – and subsequent reaction from his EFF followers online – has spooked many journalists across the country. Advocate Daniel Berger has argued that the vicious language used by Juju constitutes hate speech and that he’s fostered an environment of “intimidation” against journalists: “It is not just about this incident, we are hoping this sets a precedent because the Tweets that followed Julius Malema’s words had a chilling effect in newsrooms.” Julius Malema “encouraging” negative responses to journalists “They’ve targeted them in a particularly vicious way and at times, in a way that constitutes hate speech and other times, harassment. As a result of that conduct, the followers of the respondents and Mr Malema have themselves tweeted in response to journalists generally.” “This environment created by the respondents is one that is calculated to stop complainants and other journalists from reporting negatively on Mr Malema and the EFF. The party refrain from condemning their supporters and instead, condone attacks on the complainants and other journalists.” — Julius Sello Malema (@Julius_S_Malema) December 14, 2018 What the EFF have argued Advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi has defended his clients by claiming that “no reasonable person” would take Julius Malema’s rhetoric literally. He states that the EFF are usually quick to preach non-violence, and warned the courts against taking “the freedom of speech” away from the Red Berets: “There is no reasonable basis for telling Mr Malema he must tone down the rhetoric. He is a politician after all. There is also no way any reasonable person can take those comments literally. That is why we are invited to a dangerous terrain when we are told to expand the class of persons that enjoy protection against hate speech.” Sanef are being “grossly unreasonable” “The EFF are always against the parachuting of a clause in a sentence, or a sentence in a paragraph, or a paragraph in a speech. No reasonable person would view Malema’s ‘cut the head’ comments separately from his dismissal of violence. Sanef’s view [of the speech] was self-serving, grossly unreasonable and caricatures the speech”. “The EFF has only one instrument to hold power accountable: speech, nothing else. The court should reject Sanef’s argument that journalists should be afforded protection.” The case is expected to continue until Wednesday 7 August.

EFF vs Sanef: ‘Don’t take me seriously’, Julius Malema and lawyers argue

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