TWO eNews journalists have been ordered to appear in court and reveal the identities of "criminals" featured in a report broadcast on eTV, writes Zandile Mbalela in The Times.

The "criminals", whose features and voices were distorted, were quoted in a news bulletin on Friday as saying that they would rob tourists during the World Cup and shoot at police.

At the weekend, Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa and national police commissioner Bheki Cele lambasted the channel, saying it was "promoting and justifying the interests of criminals, as well harbouring criminals".

Cele said eNews should have alerted the police.

Now reporter Mpho Lakaje and group news editor Ben Said have been summonsed, under a section of the Criminal Procedure Act used to compel unco-operative witnesses to give evidence in a criminal matter.

Cele said: "Instead of utilising their platform to expose [the criminals] and ensure we apprehend these thugs, they chose an unfortunate stance of glorifying as heroic the acts of these thugs, who show no remorse towards citizens."

Media commentators slated the subpoena.

Anton Harber, professor of journalism at Wits University, said it was wrong for Mthethwa and Cele to accuse eNews of promoting unlawfulness, and that the police should focus on chasing real criminals instead of journalists.

"If the authorities force journalists to act as police in catching criminals and naming their sources, then the journalists cannot do their job of reporting effectively and that does not help anyone," he said.

Click here to read the full report, posted on