Stuart Stobbs
Stuart Stobbs

[THIS POST HAS BEEN GAGGED]

Enough silence.

The last time I blogged on this site it was about #SpeakZA, an initiative started by Sipho Hlongwane and amplified by the online community as a protest against Malema and his cronies trying to gag the media. Well it looks like the war has stepped up a few levels. And I have to say I am pretty worried.

The very freedoms that were paid for in blood, death and torture by anti-apartheid activists are now under attack once again. In a week that Selebi, another struggle activist, goes down for corruption there are outraged calls from ANC officials and alliance partners to gag what they term the biased and unfair media.

Mzilikazi wa Afrika, a journalist from the Sunday Times who worked on an article that alleged police commissioner General Bheki Cele had leased new police headquarters for R500 million without following normal tender processes, has just been arrested for “fraud” and “defeating the ends of justice”. It seems like the price of exposing brash corruption is clear.

Isn’t it ironic that the very organisation that fought so hard for the freedom of press, freedom of expression and civil rights seems to be the one who is threatening them? It’s also ironic that the same gag tactics that the National Party employed back in the dark apartheid days are once again being employed by those in power.

Freedom of press is essential to a healthy society. Why? Because if no one is checking on those in power — whoever that is — there is none to stop them from doing whatever they want.

How many people reading this are happy with how their money is being spent by the government? Are you happy with the service levels you are getting? Happy with the roads? The hospitals? The rate of crime? Housing? The massively failing education system? Are you happy with the outrageously expensive cars that are being driven by some government officials or the inordinately luxurious homes they some stay in? Are you happy that YOUR hard-earned money is being spent on officials rather than on running our country properly and truly helping the people who really need help — the poor.

I am not.

So why should this not be exposed? Make no mistake — this is not a war just on the media. It’s also a war on you and your rights.