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Media Freedom & Right to Know news

Eastern Cape editor fails to appear in court

4 Dec 2013 09:22
The editor of the Informer community newspaper in the Eastern Cape did not appear in court on trespassing charges as he was scheduled to do yesterday.

Sanef has strongly protested at what it construes as an attempt to interfere with the freedom of expression rights of the paper. (Image extracted from the Sanef website
Editor Andile Nomabhunga said in a telephone interview the prosecutor was not happy with the State's case.

Nomabhunga was to have appeared in the Matatiele Magistrate's Court for allegedly trespassing at the house of the municipal manager.

He said the charges were laid by the manager's husband.

"The prosecutor was not satisfied with the manager's husband making a statement against me, saying the manager herself should do so," Nomabhunga said.

"Once this has been done, I will be subpoenaed to court [sic]."

Nomabhunga, 45, edits the publication in the Alfred Nzo district.

The SA National Editors' Forum (Sanef) said earlier he was arrested for trespassing on November 28 and was released the same day on a warning.

Sanef chairman Mpumelelo Mkhabela said Nomabhunga wrote a story about municipal manager Nontsikelelo Matubatuba's alleged abuse of the municipal budget. (See Sanef condemns alleged attempt to harass, intimidate editor).

"The story claimed that Matubatuba had used funds from the municipal budget allocated for music talent development, to build a music studio in her home," said Mkhabela.

Mkhabela said Nomabhunga went to Matubatuba's house and took pictures in the studio and interviewed her before publishing the story.

"At no stage was there any suggestion that he was trespassing," he said.

He was arrested in his office six days later.

Mkhabela said police were acting on a complaint which had no substance, and that this appeared to be an attempt to harass and intimidate Nomabhunga for publishing a story that was in the public's interest.

The National Prosecuting Authority could not be reached for comment.

Source: Sapa, via I-Net Bridge


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