The South African National Editors’ Forum (Sanef) has called for action against media personality Somizi Mhlongo for insulting journalists.
This comes after he doxxed two journalists after they tried to solicit comment from him regarding news articles they were working on at the weekend.
Julia Madibogo of City Press sent Mhlongo a message asking for comment on allegations that he was divorcing his husband, Mohale Motaung, while Kabelo Khumalo approached him for comment on allegations that the production of his cooking show, Dinner at Somizi’s, had been put on hold amid a legal dispute.
In his responses, Mhlongo insulted Khumalo and his parents, and shared screenshots of his conversations with both journalists, revealing their numbers.
“So @city_press has become a tabloid… ok… two can play the game… to stand a chance to win I don’t know what, dial the number and let Julia know what it feels like to have yo privacy invaded unprovoked,” posted Somizi in an Instagram post that has since been deleted.
The star has been subject of criticism on social media, with South Africans calling him to order for allegedly exposing the journalists to abuse from his followers.
#Somizi must accept that his marriage is a matter of public interest and people cannot just back off. He put his whole wedding on a TV channel which the masses pay for on a monthly basis. Threatening the journalist with law for doing their work is also wrong.
— S E P H I R I❄️ (@sephiritsikeli) January 18, 2021
According to Sanef, Madibogo has been threatened, while Khumalo’s wife threatened with rape.
“We believe this is irresponsible in the extreme and potentially unlawful conduct. Mhlongo has a massive support base and a following in excess of almost four million on the Instagram social platform and his followers have resorted to intimidation and harassment of journalists on all social media platforms.
“They have subjected both Madibogo and Khumalo to torrents of insults and threats. The fans also threatened the safety of the journalists’ families. They have tormented them for doing their jobs and asking questions in line with the Press Code that demands of journalists to give a right of reply to everyone they intend to write stories about,” said Sanef.
It has called on Mhlongo to apologise to the journalists and public on all his social media platforms and also call on his followers to stop harrassing them
Sanef has also called on the journalists to lay charges of intimidation.
“Sanef reiterates its call on the journalism industry to urgently ensure the safety of journalists, especially women reporters, and to note that support is needed to address online attacks.”