The Young Journalists Association (YOJA) is saddened by threats that came from legislator Temba Mliswa following unfavourable media coverage over the past weeks.
Mliswa is a well-known friend of the media.
The fact he is a Member of Parliament (MP), a public official who is supposed to appreciate the value of an unhindered press makes his statement more disappointing.
Mliswa threatened to raise a motion in parliament that will in all essence criminalise journalism at a time we are pushing for reforms to liberate our industry.
“If there is ever a time I am going to move a motion in parliament against journalists to be given five years (in prison) it is this time around because you cannot at all rule by the stroke of the pen and lie,” said Mliswa at a press conference on Thursday.
“There must be a law that is supposed to come in and you know the ruling party has always wanted to curtail you.
“They have two thirds, I will move the motion and the bill will pass, you cannot at all get away with it.
“This must be a new era of journalism where laws are enacted to protect the innocent from journalists who are unethical, there must be a price to be paid by journalists who are unethical; a law must be there.”
Mliswa who had invited journalists to his home was promptly advised by YOJA spokesperson Leopold Munhende against “insulting” journalists and advised to approach relevant bodies to address grievances he holds against certain individuals and publications he felt had deliberately tarnished his image.
We hope the Norton legislator will reflect on his statement and realise the retrogressive effects it has on the democratisation process of our country, with particular focus on the central role played by the media.
YOJA Secretary General