Why is Floyd Shivambu digging for dirt on journos?

Mail & Guardian, Daily Maverick
17 March 2010

19 political correspondents submit letter of complaint to the ANC


We wish to lodge a formal complaint against ANC youth league spokesman Floyd Shivambu, who last week threatened several journalists when he attempted to "leak" a so called dossier to certain reporters.

His behaviour constitutes an attack on several freedoms including media freedom, and presents a danger to constitutional provisions South Africans enjoy. It also amounts to intimidation especially if one considers his threat to make public so called embarrassing information about the private lives of reporters.

As political journalists we reject anyone within our ranks who accepts money or payment for writing slanted stories. We hold no brief for corrupt individuals within our fraternity and encourage anyone who can prove instances where ethics have been violated to report it to the relevant authorities including editors and watch dog bodies that regulate our profession.

However, we believe that Shivambu's actions was less about exposing unethical behaviour in the media, and had more to do with wanting to silence us with threats of public embarrassment over our private lives. We wish to place it on record that Shivambu's efforts sought to intimidate political journalists from doing their legitimate work.

Last week Shivambu approached several journalists with a "dossier" on City Press journalist Dumisane Lubisi, which he claims came into the youth league's possession anonymously. He provided no proof of the allegations contained in the document, but insisted that the information contained therein was true. He then threatened the reporters who expressed concern over the accuracy of the information saying "you next" when they expressed reservations about the veracity of his claims and said they would not run the stories.

Shivambu's efforts to bully reporters is the latest in a series of attacks on journalists by the ANC youth league. At a recent press conference addressed by ANC president Julius Malema, some youth league figures, including Malema accused journalist's unethical behaviour and threatened to arrest those caught in alleged wrongdoing. He hurled abuse and launched personal attacks on individual journalists. Comments about their salaries, credit worthy status and sexual behaviour were made without a shred of evidence.

Of concern is the youth league's apparent access to confidential information relating the private lives of journalists. The candour with which they rattled off confidential information points to a larger sinister pattern. If one accepts even for a minute that any of the information in the ANC youth league's possession is true, questions arise about how it was accessed and how a political organization could obtain it without breaking the law.

We believe that if the actions of the youth league remain unchecked, it could put SA on a slippery slide where the lives of journalists could be in danger and media freedom eroded.

We demand that Shivambu issue a public apology for his actions. Furthermore the ANC youth league is obliged to reveal how it had received the information and whether state or other resources were used to illegally intrude into the private lives of journalists and other individuals who may not agree with its activities.

We call on the ANC and the league to distance itself from Shivambu's shameful actions.

Undersigned by:

Business Day: Karima Brown, Wilson Johwa

Independent Newspapers: Moshoeshoe Monare, Gaye Davis, Xolani Mbanjwa and Carien du Plessis

Mail and Guardian: Rapule Tabane and Mandy Rossouw

The Times/ Sunday Times: Moipone Malefane, Sthembiso Msomi and Nkululeko Ncana

702: Stephen Grootes

City Press: Moffet Mofokeng, Piet Rampedi, Dumisane Lubisi, Japhet Ncube, George Matlala

Media24: Chandre Prince

eNews: Hajra Omarjee

Sources: Mail & Guardian, Daily Maverick

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If you come across comments that are injurious, defamatory, profane, off-topic or inappropriate; contain personal attacks or racist, sexist, homophobic, or other slurs, please report them and they will be removed.
 responses to this article

An Attack to Floyd
i take this act as an attack to Floyd and i think some journalists feel threatened because they know that they are involve in the wrong doings for them to get some stories or lies about others

by Senzi Mhlongo on March 17 2010, 15:24
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It`s amazing how the tables quickly turns!! If there is nothing to hide why are they moarning?I thought this freedom of expression applies to everyone but like in ANIMAL FARM land, some are more equal that others. The problem is that journalists uses the . .more

by James on March 17 2010, 15:46
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Who is the media accountable to?
Journalist organisations have always encouraged stealing of personal information to embarass those they dislike in politics. It is journalist who have paid (in money or in kind) people in the NEC of the ANC to leak NEC decisions. It is journalists who . .more

by Siphp on March 17 2010, 16:42
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"Do to others as you'll like them do unto you"
The chicken has come back home to roast.

Reveal comrade Floyd, one by one. These capitalist mouthpiieces are now attacking our freedom of speech that to which they claim all along to defend. We want to where the sleep over the weekend when . .more

by Progressive Cadre on March 17 2010, 16:49
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I support journalism!

These are our colleagues, you Malema idiots.

You are crazy if you think it is your job to attack journalists.

by Domza on March 17 2010, 21:18
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Sonny , you and your cardboard gangster comrades , need to have a hole pissed through your chests .

The courts are there to rectify any wrongdoing - not you and your comrades . In simple english , if you have difficulty with any media release . .more

by Green Room on March 17 2010, 21:24
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Joseph Goebbels would be proud of you comrade !
Well done Comrade !

I see how quickly the journalists complain when we divert attention away from political leaders, like comrade Malema or comrade Floyd, and rather focus attention on the reporters themselves.

How dare they question . .more

by Dylan on March 17 2010, 21:26
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The chickens are cackling!!
Aaah, The tables are being turned!!

The journalists, so used to digging dirt, belated realised that they have signed a code of ethics. That is, that unlike their targets, they are duty bound to uphold the highest standards of professional and . .more

by JVR on March 17 2010, 23:04
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Domza yo spy
U sound like u're protecting someone including yoself

by Mbatha on March 17 2010, 23:15
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Now I'm a spy, Mbatha?

Now you want to come after me? And what is your game, then? Are trying to make sure that the ANC Youth League antagonises the entire country?

Whose side do you think you are on, Mbatha? Maybe you think you've got a win-win situation? Maybe . .more

by Domza on March 18 2010, 06:21
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It's so easy!
The media should show the ANCYL that the pen is mightier than the sword by not printing any of these allegations against the journos.

by Koos on March 18 2010, 07:37
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Now this is what I call a dillema
Floyd is wrong for trying to blackmail journalists -- they should be alolowed to choose what is it to print or not... finish en klaar... I hope many fine journalist that our country boast have nothing to hide/should they be implicated then we will have no . .more

by Sibusiso on March 18 2010, 09:52
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What is Floyd trying to hide?
This a typical reaction from a bunch of facists in a blatant attempt to muzzle the press ot hide their own corruption. For anyone to think that the personal conduct of any journalist is relevant in any way at all is an indication of the degree to which . .more

by Socrates on March 18 2010, 10:47
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by hendrix on March 18 2010, 11:22
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P******* journalists
ancyl is only applying tactics dat r employed by same journalists, they must stop complaining and play along unless they hav sumthing to hide, floyd shud not be intimidated

by steve naale on March 18 2010, 13:25
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What goes around comes around
The journalists have themselves to blame , because they themselves abuse their professionalism and let themselves be used for political gains. Now they are tasting the bitter taste of their brew. What goes around comes around.

by Simphiwe on March 18 2010, 13:27
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the private lives of journalists are not of public interest, and do not affect our daily lives, however those in public office and politics do. they are not stealing their own money, but ours.

by crystal clear on March 18 2010, 14:29
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It matters, Crystal Clear...
No Crystal Clear - you are wrong. Journalists are themselves public figures - the print their names next to their articles and opinion pieces, and they write expansively about the lifes and times of politicians, under their own names.

We . .more

by JVR on March 18 2010, 16:08
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No gangster state can tolerate a free press while cheating its people!
Journalists run serious risks to report the truth about the ruling ANC scum who have scrapped the Scorpions, co-opted the police and corrupted the National Prosecuting Authority to cover up their crimes, steal dockets and drop charges against President . .more

by Aghast on March 18 2010, 22:44
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Letter is Ambiguous...
Firstly the letter appears to imply that the alleged 'scandalous' information is a lie, and not true... and then it appears to indicate it is true, but if so, how did the ANCYL get the information?

Secondly... I have personally experienced the . .more

by White Refugee on March 19 2010, 00:07
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The ancestors are watching
The ancyl are nothing but a disgusting, ill disciplined, unruly mob.
They claw their way to God knows where regardless of anything.
They are essentially illogical, mad,brainless people who have nothing whatsoever to contribute to the success and . .more

by Molobo on March 19 2010, 15:20
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JVR is right.

by Klaus in RSA on March 20 2010, 10:42
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