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SANEF condemns assault and horrible treatment of journalists.

5 (2)

1 November 2023

The South African National Editors’ Forum (SANEF) deplores the vicious assault of the Mpuma Kapa TV (MPKTV) news crew on Monday in the Eastern Cape.

The incident, which took place during their coverage of a story for the 6pm news bulletin at Airport Valley in Walmer, is concerning to SANEF.

The assault targeted MPKTV reporter, Jessica Bobo, and camera operator Sbu Maingo, who were fulfilling their professional duties in covering a story about the alleged hijacking of RDP houses.

As Maingo was diligently recording the incident, a group of individuals accused of the hijacking turned hostile, demanding the cessation of recording. Despite Maingo attempting to hand the camera over to the reporter, the group attacked him, forcibly throwing him against a fence, and inflicting injuries to his face, ribs, and neck.

Bobo, in an attempt to seek assistance, was also attacked by the group. Maingo is currently recovering at home, bearing bruises, and experiencing considerable discomfort from the assault.

This incident not only highlights the increasing dangers faced by journalists but also underscores the imperative nature of the relationship between communities and journalists. Journalists play a pivotal role in bringing crucial information to the public, and their safety and freedom in performing their duties must be safeguarded.

This incident, among others, not only signifies the rise in criminal acts against media professionals but also illustrates the distressing levels of disrespect towards journalists. SANEF is deeply concerned by the growing frequency of such criminality in our communities, an issue that requires urgent attention and action.

SANEF calls upon law enforcement authorities to investigate this appalling assault swiftly and thoroughly on the MPKTV news crew. Furthermore, we urge stronger measures to ensure the safety and protection of journalists as they conduct their vital role in keeping the public informed.

We stand in solidarity with the affected journalists and emphasize the importance of upholding press freedom and the safety of media practitioners in the pursuit of their duties.

On a separate matter – SANEF has disappointingly learnt of an unfortunate event where there was the unjustifiable expulsion of Ofhani Munyai, a respected sportswriter with FarPost Media and the South African Football Journalists Association (SAFJA) Provincial Representative in Limpopo, from the media event held by Polokwane City, a Premier Soccer League (PSL) team, in Limpopo on Tuesday.

Munyai, who was attending the Carling Knockout Media Open Day at the invitation of the PSL, found himself abruptly asked to leave the press conference, which was set up for an interview with Coach, Phuti Mohafe. A club official, Abraham Ramoroka, citing instructions from the club’s chair, demanded Munyai’s departure, providing no justifiable reasons for this action.

In response to this unjust expulsion, Munyai notified his colleagues, who, in a display of solidarity, chose to leave the event as well. This regrettable incident not only undermines the principles of press freedom and fair media access but also hampers the free flow of information to the public, a right that should be upheld and protected.

SANEF is deeply concerned by this incident, especially as there have been no prior issues or disputes reported between the club and Mr. Munyai in his capacity as a journalist. The actions taken against him are not only unwarranted but also impede the journalistic duty of reporting objectively and without bias.

Moreover, SANEF is cognisant of the broader challenges faced by soccer reporters, including instances where female reporters are subjected to belittlement or inappropriate treatment, often infused with sexual undertones. This is a distressing pattern that undermines the professionalism and integrity of media professionals.

SANEF reiterates the agreements reached during the roundtable meeting with the South African Football Association (SAFA), where it was emphasised that all media should be granted fair and unbiased access to information. The meeting, attended by SAFA leadership and SANEF members, aimed to establish a level playing field for media engagement, stressing mutual respect for the independence and integrity of media organizations and their stakeholders.

All professional soccer clubs in the country are urged to adhere to the principles of fairness, respect, and impartiality in their interactions with the media. Such incidents detract from the collaborative efforts to foster an environment where the media can effectively perform their duties in informing the public.

SANEF calls for an immediate investigation into this incident and urges the Polokwane City to provide a formal explanation for the unjust expulsion of Munyai, ensuring that such actions are not repeated, and that press freedom and fair media access are upheld and respected.

For more information please contact:

Sbu Ngalwa – SANEF Chairperson (073) 404-1415

Nwabisa Makunga – SANEF Deputy Chairperson (082) 555-1972

Qaanitah Hunter – SANEF Secretary-General

Tshamano Makhadi – Treasurer-General (082) 223 0621

Makhudu Sefara – SANEF Media Freedom Chair (079) 177-2134

Katy Katopodis – SANEF Wellness and Safety Chair (082) 805-7022

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

Dr. Glenda Daniels – SANEF Gauteng Convenor (083) 229-9708

Rochelle De Kock – SANEF Eastern Cape Convenor (072) 969-8028

Asanda Ngoasheng – SANEF Western Cape Convenor (082) 610 9374

Reggy Moalusi – SANEF Executive Director (071) 682-3695

Twitter: @SAEditorsForum

Email: [email protected]