BLF spokesperson Zanele Lwana dismissed such claims, telling Al Jazeera: "The BLF does not promote racism, intimidation, harassment, assault against anyone.
That is not the conduct of our movement." However, referring to the alleged incidents involving Reddy and Brown, she added: "You cannot provoke us and create situations where there is going to be an altercation, then when we respond to your insults you go and cry to the media." Brown says BLF's members are "hired thugs" who enjoy political support from "the highest office in the land," while chair of the South African National Editors' Forum (SANEF), Mahlatse Gallens, points out that BLF has specifically targeted editors from publications that have exposed high-level government corruption.
But Venter, seen as leading the charge against the SABC, soon began to receive anonymous death threats.
Venter's family claim that her flat was broken into multiple times; the tyres on her car were slashed; she was allegedly assaulted on three separate occasions, shot at, and once even abducted.
South African political journalist Karima Brown, a former colleague of Bruce's when she was political editor at Business Day, says that she was physically assaulted and threatened by a female member of BLF when she arrived at Bruce's house to contest the picket; she has since laid charges against the alleged assailant.
More recently on Monday, July 17, investigative journalist Micah Reddy also gave a statement describing how he'd been assaulted by members of BLF after a televised panel debate on fake news at Shine Studios in Johannesburg.
They are taking a very proactive approach to ensure that the working environment is good." But while Krige says that there have been improvements at the SABC within the past two months, he reiterates the widespread concerns in the South African media industry that there is an increasingly "orchestrated effort" to intimidate local journalists, and that this extends far beyond the public broadcaster.
Venter had found her calling: she was set on becoming a journalist.
At the age of 24 Venter would go on to become a current affairs journalist and producer for the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), the state-owned public broadcaster.
According to Krige: "For such a long time, there was this absolute fear ... It's people standing in little corners, whispering, people avoiding eye contact, people who will stop talking when you pass them, people glancing at the roof to see if there are hidden microphones or cameras.
It was really a toxic environment of fear and intimidation." Following an internal disciplinary hearing in June this year, Motsoeneng was found guilty of bringing the public broadcaster into disrepute and an interim board was appointed.The Guptas have been mired in corruption scandals since a series of hundreds of thousands of emails was leaked to South African media outlets including the ama Bhungane Centre for Investigative Journalism, as well as Media24 and the Daily Maverick.