The South African National Editors’ Forum condemns this morning’s assault on a SABC cameraman outside a Polokwane court.
Amukelani Rikhotso, who is on trial for allegedly causing the accident that killed Public Service and Administration Minister Collins Chabane, assaulted cameraman Llywellyn Carstens and smashed his camera.
Carstens was following Rikhotso down the street after his court appearance. Rikhotso reacted violently when Carstens began photographing him.
“You know in court when you want a shot, you follow people. I followed him down the street and he turned and smashed the camera in my face,” Carstens said.
I laid a charge of common assault and malicious damage to property.”
Journalists and photographers have the right in terms of the law and the Constitution to report on court proceedings, and can take photographs of criminal suspects outside the court. They can also do so in court with the permission of the presiding magistrate or judge.
Sanef urges the police to investigate the case opened by Carstens and to do so speedily.
For further comment:
Media Freedom Committee chairman: Adriaan Basson – (082) 562-2113
Sanef Council member: Piet Rampedi – (072) 650 9650