Date: May 3, 2019 Country:

South Africa: Journalists must be protected as the country goes to the polls next week

Journalists must be allowed to do their work free of harassment, intimidation and threats as South Africa holds its general election next week, said Amnesty International South Africa today as World Press Freedom Day is marked globally.

“Journalists are defenders of the right to freedom of expression, and if they cannot freely do their work, the very essence of our society is attacked. A vibrant and free press reporting on the human rights and other related issues that shape our lives is a key building block of any society,” said Shenilla Mohamed, Executive Director of Amnesty International South Africa.

“The digital frontier has added another dimension with Amnesty International South Africa observing a worrying trend of abusive comments, threats and harassment on social media in the run-up to the election.”

Mohamed added: “We call on the authorities, political parties and candidates to publicly commit to providing a conducive environment for journalists to freely carry out their work.

“Journalism is not a crime, and it is every person’s right to seek, receive and share factually correct information and ideas, without fear or unlawful interference.”


South Africa will be holding its sixth election on 8 May 2019, celebrating 25 years since the first elections in 1994.

Download Amnesty International’s election human rights manifesto here – 25 Years On: A Human Rights Manifesto for South Africa.

For more information or to request an interview, please contact:

Mienke Steytler, Media and Digital Content Officer – Amnesty International South Africa on +27 11 283 6033 or +27 83 437 5732 or