Ameriques Asie Europe Moyen-Orient Internet Nations unies
South Africa21 October 2003

Judge orders journalist to reveal her sources

Reporters Without Borders protested today against a South Africa judge ordering a journalist to reveal her sources to support claims that national director of public prosecutions Bulelani Ngcuka was a spy for the intelligence services under the country’s white minority apartheid regime.

A commission of enquiry headed by Judge Joos Hefer said on 16 October that Ranjeni Munusamy, formerly with the Sunday Times, must disclose them despite objections by her lawyers.

"We are astonished the commission is doing this," said Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Robert Ménard. "South Africa has shown its commitment to freedom of expression, so it would be regrettable if a commission looking into a dark period of the country’s history violated such a basic principle of journalism."

Munusamy accused Ngcuka in an article in City Press on 7 October and said she had documentary evidence. Since the Hefer Commission ordered to reveal these sources, she has received threatening phone calls warning that she will be harmed if she does.

Munusamy has stressed that she will not testify before the commission. The High Court will rule on 3 November whether she is legally obliged to or not. Judge Hefer has turned to other journalists to give evidence but all have refused to do so until the High Court has ruled.

In this country
18 August - South Africa
Parliament urged to reject bill that would legalise censorship of broadcast and print media
11 July - South Africa
Letter to Zuma over his threat to sue media that don’t pay within 14 days

in the annual report
Africa press releases
3 June - Somalia
Alarm at TV station director’s abduction near Mogadishu
27 May - Gabon
Government imposes news blackout on President Bongo’s health
26 May - Somalia
Radio reporter shot by militia dies of injuries, fourth journalist to be killed this year

africa archives

18 March 2009 - Democratic Republic of Congo
“Bukavu, murder city”: investigation report into murders of journalists in the capital of Sud-Kivu
21 May 2008 - Eritrea
Naizghi Kiflu, the dictatorship’s eminence grise
6 March 2008 - Kenya
"How far to go ?" Kenya’s media caught in the turmoil of a failed election

Sign the petitions
Sign the petition for the release of ten Eritrean journalists