South African National Editors’ Forum (Sanef) and the South African Freelancers’ Association (Safrea) have called on law enforcement members to stop their hostility and harassment of journalists. This follows an attack against Cape Town freelance journalist, Jacques Marais who says he was manhandled and threatened after following police and soldiers into the Masiphumelele township.
He says he was wearing a press bib and holding his camera when his car door was slammed into his back as he reached into his vehicle for his media card. He says two men with covered faces cursed and threatened him for several minutes.
Sanef and Safrea say they will table this and other incidents with the National Police Commissioner, the Ministry of Police and the Cape Town Metro police.
Below is a statement by Sanef:
The SABC on Sunday appealed to the public to allow journalists to do their jobs during the nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of COVID-19. This followed an attack on journalists in Durban by community members.
SABC Spokesperson Mmoni Seapolelo said on Sunday the news crew was rescued by the police.
“The SABC can confirm an incident which took place yesterday whereby our news crew in KwaZulu-Natal was surrounded by community members who threatened to set their vehicle alight whilst covering a story in Ulundi. We are happy to report that our news crew has since been rescued by the local police and we would like to appeal to the public to allow journalists to do our work; particularly during this time when there is a critical need for public awareness regarding COVID-19.”