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The Acting National Commissioner of Police, General Kgomotso Phahlane, accompanied by Deputy National Commissioner for Policing, Lt General Sehlahle Masemola, Deputy National Commissioner for Human Resource Management, Lt General Bonang Mgwenya, and National Head of Communications, Major General Vuyisile Ngesi , met with a Sanef delegation led by its Chairperson Mahlatse Gallens.
The meeting, at the Sanef offices, followed a request by Sanef to discuss various attacks on journalists in which police had been implicated. The incidents occurred over a period of time and included instances where police officers allegedly forced journalists to delete pictures from their cameras and physical manhandling of others. The incidents raised by Sanef included actions of police at crime and protest scenes and the behaviour of VIP Protections Services.
Sanef and the SAPS recently collaborated in producing a credit card size guide for police officers and journalists on how to behave at crime scenes but Sanef said this had not halted the problems. SAPS pointed out that the Standing Order 156 that regulates police interface with journalists was being updated to include digital media. This would be shared with editors soon.
General Phahlane condemned attacks on journalists and said he would issue a memo by next week to all police officers appraising them of the need to respect journalists at crime scenes. The meeting agreed to formalize existing agreements to enhance understanding between police and the media. These included arrangements for editors to be invited to address national, provincial and regional meetings of the SAPS leadership, and also police recruits. Editors would in turn invite police officers into newsrooms to enhance their understanding of media operations.
The Sanef delegation included its Media Freedom sub Committee chairperson Sam Mkokeli and Executive Director Mathatha Tsedu. Further meetings are to be arranged.
For Inquiries:
Sanef Chairperson Mahlatse Gallens 0833992852
SAPS Communications Maj Gen Vuyisile Ngesi 072 353 3654