‘The EFF condemns in the strongest terms, and with the disgust it deserves, the publication of Julius Malema’s family residence in an attempt to discredit him.”This was the angry response from the EFF after a journalist had published the home address of Malema.
The party was not alone in its condemnation as media practitioners, through the SA National Editors’ Forum, also criticised the move.So, it is ironic that the same party sees nothing wrong with publishing the phone number of a journalist on Twitter and, in so doing, exposing her to the same, if not worse, abuse that its members complained about. The threats of rape, murder, assault and just naked hatred and vitriol that journalist Karima Brown was subjected to came about because of Malema publicising her phone number.
It is a dirty way to fight a journalist you disagree with or whose conduct you disapprove of. Malema’s argument that Brown is no journalist – which, of course, he knows is not true – is a defence that simply cannot stand. He intentionally exposed a journalist to violence and misogyny by virtually inviting his supporters to act in the way they did.
If he had not published the number, Brown would still have been criticised by EFF supporters in various ways, but not in a manner that violates her dignity and endangers her safety.This is not the first time Malema and the EFF have deliberately sought to intimidate journalists in this way. Earlier this year, he told an EFF mini rally outside the Zondo commission the names of journalists who he considered hostile to the party.
This was also irresponsible.