31 August 2011
SANEF STATEMENT ON ATTACKS ON JOURNALISTS
Attacks on journalists to be deplored, Sanef calls for restraint
The SA National Editors’ Forum is shocked and dismayed by reports that journalists were harassed, threatened and had stones and bottles thrown at them during protest action by supporters of ANC Youth League president Julius Malema in Joburg today.
It is completely unacceptable that journalists were targeted for attack. An eyewitness reported seeing a television cameraman being struck in the face by a brick, while it was also reported that a correspondent for a foreign news agency was threatened with rape, among other incidents.
Sanef notes that Malema told his supporters that journalists should not be attacked as they were merely “the messengers”. We urge that they heed his call and that the Youth League inform its members of the need for journalists to be allowed to carry out their professional duties without interference. In witnessing and recording events they are acting in the interests of the general public. It is in the public interest that they be allowed to do so without let or hindrance.
Sanef recognizes the right of aggrieved people to demonstrate. However, there is a duty on the part of organisations whose members are demonstrating to ensure they conduct themselves peacefully and within the law.