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The SA National Editors’ Forum (SANEF) is appalled at claims of harassment and intimidation leveled against the media by locals who clashed with foreigners in Plettenberg Bay.

A reporter for The Herald, an Eastern Cape-based publication, was this week forced to leave her home because of threats of violence by community members in KwaNokuthula township.

The Herald editor Rochelle de Kock told SANEF that the reporter was now staying in a safe house.

So bad has the situation become that the reporter and the publication decided that her news reports will no longer carry her name in order to mitigate the intimidation and make her feel more at ease in a community in which she too is a member.

De Kock says the reporter was covering a protest march, along the N2 in Plettenberg Bay, by a large group of locals who have clashed with foreigners on September 01 when she was accosted. “They pushed her around and demanded she delete the footage she had taken. They threatened to break her phone. She was shaken by the incident and we told her to leave the scene,” says De Kock.

On Tuesday (September 20th), the Herald received screenshots of a discussion in a WhatsApp group where the locals not only expressed their displeasure at the work done by journalists in KwaNokuthula, but encouraged each other to “deal” with the Herald reporter and another journalist linked to Groundup.

SANEF abhors the use of violence – or even threats of violence – in resolving any disagreement. If anyone is unhappy with the work journalists do, they should freely approach the Press Council or the BCCSA.

Intimidating journalists to the point the reporters are uncomfortable to use their names on their news stories is indicative of the chilling effect this has on journalism. This is anathema to democracy.

SANEF finds the intimidation and threats against journalists unacceptable. We will always condemn this. We will support the Herald as a case has been opened, and we hope law enforcement agencies take appropriate action.

 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

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

Tshamano Makhadi – Treasurer-General (082) 223 0621

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

Asanda Ngoasheng – Western Cape Convenor – 082 610-9374

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

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

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

Twitter: @SAEditorsForum

Email: [email protected]

Website: www.sanef.org.za