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SANEF CALLS FOR MEDIA ACCESS TO RUGBY MATCHES

Blue Bulls rugby supporters

As the country eagerly awaits Saturday’s first Rugby match at Loftus Versfeld and the normalisation of sports coverage, the South African National Editors’ Forum (SANEF) is surprised to hear that the number of photographers has been limited.

The Blue Bulls Company has issued a letter stating that only two photographers will be permitted to shoot the upcoming match.

SANEF believes that hurdles to accreditation and unwelcome regulations should be removed so that the media including freelancers (both local and foreign) are not denied the opportunity to get back to work.  Rugby authorities should note that the country has moved to lockdown level 1 as announced by the President. We thus appeal to SA Rugby to seriously consider opening up and enabling the sports media fraternity to resume working.

We believe that journalists should strictly adhere to the regulations of wearing masks, sanitising and ensuring physical distancing but with this, in place, we believe that sports grounds, particularly as big as Loftus Versfeld, should not pose a threat to spreading the Coronavirus.

The media has previously engaged other sports authorities, including Cricket SA that wanted to restrict access to only two photographers at their Solidarity match. However, after engaging with them on their social responsibility to help journalists to get back to work, the issues were resolved. We hope that the same will apply for the rugby fraternity.

Our proposal is that 5/6 major SA and 4 International agencies be allowed to send a representative to cover the matches inside the stadium with COVID19 physical distancing protocols in place.

Note to Editors: The South African National Editors’ Forum (SANEF) is a non-profit organisation whose members are editors, senior journalists and journalism trainers from all areas of the South African media. We are committed to championing South Africa’s hard-won freedom of expression and promoting quality, ethics and diversity in the South African media. We promote excellence in journalism through fighting for media freedom, writing policy submissions, research and education and training programmes. SANEF is not a union.

For more information please contact:

Sbu Ngalwa – SANEF Chairperson (073) 404-1415

Adriaan Basson – SANEF Deputy Chairperson (082) 562-2113

Mahlatse Mahlase – Secretary General (083) 399-2852

Nwabisa Makunga – Treasurer (082) 555-1972

Mary Papayya – SANEF Media Freedom Chair (082) 379-4957

Judy Sandison – SANEF KZN Convenor (082) 571-3334

Katy Katopodis – SANEF Gauteng Convenor (082) 805-7022

Chiara Carter – SANEF Eastern Cape Convenor (082) 659-9162

Kate Skinner – SANEF Executive Director – (082) 926-6404

Twitter: @SAEditorsForum

Email: admin@sanef.org.za  Website: www.sanef.org.za