Karyn Maughan, a News24 specialist legal journalist, and State advocate Billy Downer appeared in the Pietermaritzburg High Court on Monday.
The first day of former President Jacob Zuma’s private prosecution of Maughan and Downer had arrived.
We also speak with Adriaan Basson, the editor-in-chief of News24.
Maughan, who had switched from the press bench to the dock, described it as a “moment.” “intended to be a humiliation exercise I started this job when I was in my twenties, and I never imagined I’d be in that position “.
Adriaan Basson | Zuma vs. Maughan: The Battle for Media Freedom
She expressed gratitude to ordinary South Africans “who know the circumstances of this case, know that there was no leaking of medical records, know that all I did was publish court papers that were filed by Jacob Zuma’s lawyers themselves, in conditions where no confidentiality was asserted.”
Maughan believes the case is intended to “harass and intimidate” her.
She will continue to cover Zuma’s corruption trial, which is set to resume next week.
“Billy Downer will be there to prosecute the case, and I will be there to report on it, so despite the efforts to stop us, we will continue to do our jobs.”
Taking a journalist to criminal court, according to Basson, is a “dangerous and perilous moment for media freedom in this country.”
“The fact that Zuma believes he can ask a court to imprison Karyn for writing about court papers is a danger to society because it tells his supporters and those sympathetic to his case that journalists are fair game and are criminals for doing their jobs.”
He stated that an urgent application to strike the matter from the roll would be heard on December 8 and 9.
Meanwhile, Maughan will return to court to cover Zuma’s corruption trial.
“We believe this is a ridiculous case. We support her and are confident that our readers and subscribers will see through this attempt to silence her,” he said.