When journalists and reporters fear for their safety, citizens must be concerned, because democracy is at stake.
Two weeks ago, three journalists were killed in Mexico, which is now recognised as the most dangerous place in the world to work as a reporter.
While this issue enjoys a lot of media attention elsewhere in the world, it doesn’t get written about very often here.
We do get to know about the big stories, like when Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was brutally murdered in Turkey last year.
My profession generally pays close attention when our own are targeted in any way, and there’s good reason for this.
We may not always get it right, but we are fully aware of the fact that we are society’s watchdogs and guardians.
It’s for this reason that the court case between the EFF and several journalists is of such interest.
Five journalists joined the SA National Editors’ Forum in seeking an interdict that will stop the EFF from intimidating, harassing and even assaulting journalists.
EFF leader Julius Malema is known for making inflammatory statements when addressing his supporters.
His spiel is to be a firebrand leader saying who does n't hold back, saying exactly what his supporters want to hear.
In that way, he is very similar to American President Donald Trump, who loves organising rallies where he can gloat and strut and say what he likes.
While many don’t believe either of them to be particularly smart men, they do say just enough without saying too much to incite crazed supporters into criminal actions.
Both men refuse to take that responsibility or that their words have any meaning in that way.
They are playing very dangerous mind games, aimed at making my colleagues just a little nervous about writing certain stories and making certain statements.
Most reasonable people listening to Trump will know that when he tells his right wing supporters certain stories about immigrants, someone in the crowd could potentially go act out their ignorant anger, pick up a gun and go on a shooting spree.
Similarly, Malema knows when he says certain things about journalists, his supporters will most likely act out the subtle threats that their leader is making.
When he blatantly names journalists and even publishes their telephone numbers online, what does he expect to happen?
In this case, luckily all that happened was trolling, threats and insults.
It could’ve been a whole lot worse.
Malema’s support base is young and full of bravado, but also politically emboldened, so eager to prove themselves and make a statement.
It is a powder keg that he can very easily manipulate into dangerous actions.
I believe Trump and Malema know what they are doing when they choose to make certain statements that fire up their support base.
I also believe they choose their words carefully, so they can later claim that they didn’t know what consequences their words may have.
Because they can’t openly and blatantly test their influence to spur supporters into criminal actions, this is their new brand of cowardly politics; the kind that aspirant dictators have to resort to inside a democracy.
But it is also our duty as journalists to point this out to you, so that you can be aware of it and call it out.
We take our role as members of the Fourth Estate very seriously.
And yes we sometimes falter, but within those missteps are a genuine and vast majority, whose only mission is to chase, guard and expose the truth.
Just like Trump, Malema forgets that the media is what made them.
So the media can just as easily be his undoing!