Discredited, threatened, attacked: challenges of covering South Africa's election in the digital age

In the lead up to South Africa's elections in May,  the  Electoral Commission of South Africa  accredited CPJ Africa Program Coordinator Angela Quintal as an  international observer, monitoring press freedom.

Quintal found that unlike 1994--when she covered the violence of the country's first democratic elections--journalists in 2019 cited online harassment and threats as the biggest challenge to their work. Twenty-five years ago, I quit my first job as a reporter at a Johannesburg daily newspaper because I refused to witness South Africa's  first  democratic election from behind a desk.

It was March 28, 1994 and my editor had stopped me from covering the Shell House  massacre, where African National Congress security guards  opened fire  on members of the rival Inkatha Freedom Party, in a day of violence around Johannesburg that killed over 50 people.

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