Deepening Democracy through Access to Information
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Brown v Economic Freedom Fighters and Others (14686/2019) [2019] ZAGPJHC 166

13th June 2019

Click here to read the judgment on Saflii

[1] This application concerns the obligations of political parties and their leaders under the Electoral Code of Conduct. The first respondent, the Economic Freedom Fighters, and the second respondent, Mr Julius Sello Malema, will collectively be referred to as “the respondents”. For the sake of convenience, the parties will be referred to by name where appropriate.

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[2] From the papers it is clear that the parties have an acrimonious relationship and have publicly criticised each other on various occasions. The applicant, Ms Karema Brown, is critical and condemning of the EFF and has expressed her views on various social and other media platforms. The respondents on the other hand express “a long held belief” that Ms Brown is not a bona fide journalist but harbours and actively pursues a political agenda under the guise of independent journalism. She is accused of being an ANC operative and mole, rather than a journalist, and her conduct is criticised as being provocative and falling foul of the Press Code. They further consider her biased and prejudiced against the EFF.

[3] The events which gave rise the present application is the latest of a spate of well publicised incidents between the respondents and various journalists, resulting in proceedings which are currently pending in the Equality Court. These events are relied on by Ms Brown to illustrate a pattern of “hit and run” behaviour on the part of the respondents in relation to journalists, particularly in relation to female journalists who are critical of the EFF. Although the EFF’s alleged conduct vis-à-vis journalists forms the subject-matter of different legal proceedings the existence of such proceedings is at least a factor which is relevant to contextualize the events presently under consideration. 

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EDITED BY: Creamer Media Reporter
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