SANEF, IEC team up to ensure journalists’ safety during elections

Reading Time: 2 minutes

The South African National Editors Forum (SANEF) and the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) have partnered to ensure adherence to election rules and the safety of journalists ahead of the 2024 national and provincial elections.

The Government Communication and Information System holds a discussion panel, focusing on violence against journalists and the integrity of elections. Panellists express concerns about intimidation towards journalists by members of political parties during elections.

The Electoral Commission is also working with SANEF to train journalists in preparation for the 2024 national and provincial elections.

The aim is to strengthen the protection of journalists and educate the public regarding their role in society and foster a culture of respect for media personnel.

Former UNESCO Director covering Policy in Digital Media Development and Freedom of Expression, Prof Guy Berger says “We have to also remember the importance of journalism because without it we are voting in the dark, and there’s no point in elections.”

Panellists at the event say that some political parties are banning journalists from covering their events because they don’t like the way they report on them.

They say some female journalists in the Free State were threatened by a certain political party in the past after it had lost the elections and felt the journalists were responsible.

SANEF Projects and Office Manager, Hopewell Radebe says “With the upcoming elections, it will be interesting to see when they go and sign that undertaking pledge to uphold the constitution, to make sure that elections are free and fair and that the conditions are also free and fair for journalists to do their work whether they will sign that document and sign it genuinely, that they will let journalists do their work.”

Radebe says they will be working with the South African Police Service to ensure the safety of journalists.