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Attacks of foreign nationals and police attacks on journalists

Sanef Statement 19 April 2015

At its Council meeting in Durban on Saturday, the South African National
Editors’ Forum discussed the role the media can play in enhancing social
cohesion in light of the attacks on foreign nationals mainly of African
In addition to condemning the attacks as shameful and disgusting, Sanef believes media organizations can contribute in curbing the attacks by fostering tolerance among communities.
Sanef applauded all media organizations that have been consistent in providing
platforms for much-needed constructive dialogues and messaging through free advertising spaces. These are the key ingredient for peace.
“We urge all colleagues in the media to do their best in ensuring that while
they accurately and fairly report on the attacks – as they have been doing –
they also do whatever they can to assist communities of different backgrounds
to find each other.
“We are concerned that some of the criminal elements behind these attacks on
foreigners have targeted journalists to prevent them from doing their work.
Society needs to build a culture of tolerance, without which media freedom
would be under threat from those who seek to profit from violence not reported
in the media,” Sanef Chairperson Mpumelelo Mkhabela said.
Sanef added that respect for journalists and their role in reporting on conflict
situations should start with the law enforcement agencies.
“Some law enforcement officers have contributed to anti-media bashing by confiscating camera equipment of journalists and deleting their photographs. Sanef is in discussion with police commissioner General Riyah Phiyega and her team of officials to ensure that law enforcement officers focus on the task of dealing with criminals and stop unconstitutional attacks on journalists. Sadly, such
attacks are being emulated by some metro police officers” Mkhabela said.
Sanef will hold its annual general meeting on the 4th of July in
Johannesburg. The AGM will host a conference of stakeholders to debate
self-regulatory framework for print, digital and broadcast sectors in line with the convergences brought on by technology.
For Inquiries
Mpumelelo Mkhabela, Chairperson Sanef 0822962541
Moshoeshoe Monare Council Member 079 513 5153
Adriaan Basson Chairperson of the Media Freedom Sub Committee