Mail & Guardian faces new gag attempt

The Mail & Guardian was on Thursday afternoon informed by the Office of the State Attorney in Johannesburg of its intention to interdict the newspaper. The office is acting on behalf of the Directorate of Special Operations (Scorpions) in Pretoria.

The action relates to a set of articles the M&G intends to publish in this week’s edition regarding the scandal of police National Commissioner Jackie Selebi’s relationship with Brett Kebble murder accused Glenn Agliotti.

This is the third time this year the newspaper has faced gag action.

In September, then MTN South Africa CEO Maanda Manyatshe took a similar route, as did the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) in October. Manyatshe was only temporarily successful — his gag attempt was eventually dismissed with costs. The SABC failed outright.

Manyatshe had objected to the fact and details of a criminal complaint laid against him being made public, while the SABC tried to keep the M&G Online from publishing a report on the blacklisting of certain analysts and commentators by the broadcaster.

In both cases the Johannesburg High Court found in favour of the media’s right to expose wrongdoing in the public interest.

After the M&G refused to give an undertaking not to publish the Selebi articles at 4.30pm on Thursday, the Office of the State Attorney stated that it would attempt to obtain a court order. The M&G is opposing the interdict application.

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