Daniel Friedman
3 minute read
6 Mar 2019
10:27 am

Malema on warpath against journos after being accused of ‘instigating assault’

Daniel Friedman

The party leader shared Karima Brown's phone number, telling other journalists to 'go to hell' when criticised for it.

Julius Malema. Picture: EFF/Twitter

EFF leader Julius Malema has been heavily criticised by journalists after sharing 702 presenter, journalist, and editor Karima Brown’s phone number in a tweet yesterday.

Brown told The Citizen his tweet has led to threats of violence and rape from EFF supporters, although she added that she suspects some of the threats were sent by bots as opposed to actual people.

Malema tweeted that “Karima Brown is sending moles to our breakfast with the elders tomorrow”, referring to an upcoming event which sees the EFF “hosting the elderly of Ward 6 in Ekhuruleni to dialogue about how the EFF will change their lives and the communities they come from”.

Malema added that Brown had sent a message to the EFF media WhatsApp group accidentally before deleting it.

As evidence, he posted the message he says Brown sent and then deleted, along with her phone number, which has been blurred out in the screenshot below:

Contrary to what Malema alleges, the message that appears to be from Brown does not seem to indicate that she is “sending moles” to the EFF event. Rather, it just seems to be the sort of standard message an editor would send to a journalist by way of a brief on an upcoming story, as former Mail & Guardian editor Chris Roper, who currently works for the International Center for Journalists, pointed out.

Brown confirmed this, telling The Citizen she is a producer at eNCA and that therefore part of her job is to discuss stories and their angles with journalists.

She added that the EFF’s allegations show a “complete misunderstanding how the media works”.

“I was basically doing my job,” she said, adding that she often briefs to eNCA journalists as part of her job on the Jane Dutton show, which she described as “normal production work”.

Author and journalist Richard Poplak took Malema to task for having “doxxed Karima Brown”. Doxxing refers to when an individual’s private information is shared online with malicious intent.

Investigative journalist Pauli van Wyk – a firm enemy of the EFF due to her damning reports detailing the party’s links to the VBS Bank scandal in The Daily Maverick – responded to Poplak with her own tweet, writing: “The same [Julius Malema] who screamed murder when his home address was revealed is now instigating assault on journalist Karima Brown.”

Van Wyk is referring to Malema and his party’s enraged response to his Hyde Park address – of a property in which his wife and child are believed to live and alleged cigarette smuggler Adriano Mazzotti is believed to own – being shared on Twitter by investigative journalist and The President’s Keepers author Jacques Pauw.

“When it comes to my wife and kids, I shoot to kill,” was Malema’s response at a media briefing. Pauw, meanwhile, deleted the tweet after being urged to do so by the South African National Editors’ Forum (Sanef).

Van Wyk also tweeted that Brown’s address could be traced through her phone number and ended her tweet by ironically complimenting the leader of the red berets. “What a leader. What an example. What a demi-god,” she tweeted.

The EFF leader hit back at both Poplak and Van Wyk directly.

“I think someone misled you into believing I care about your stinking opinions,” he told Poplak.

“I never claimed to be your leader, not even of your people. You and your people can go to hell,” was his response to Van Wyk.

UPDATE: Karima Brown’s comments were added 14:05, March 6. 

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