The South African National Editors’ Forum (SANEF) is shocked to hear of the physical and verbal abuse and detention of journalists in Chatsworth. SANEF has been informed that the Sunday Tribune journalist, Karinda Jagmohan was physically manhandled and abused while covering protests outside the Chatsworth police station on Monday. The protests erupted as a response to the death of 9-year old Sadia Sukhraj in a hijacking and shootout in Shallcross, Chatsworth.
Jagmohan claims she was shoved into the police station and screamed and sworn at for filming a police member tackling a protester to the ground. The police wanted to search her bags and delete the footage.
Police handling of protests has been condemned by community members. After the shooting of the 9 year-old, outraged community members gathered outside the police station on Monday afternoon calling for urgent intervention on issues of violent crime in the area. A public order policing unit was then called in to manage the crowds which they did through firing rubber bullets and stun grenades. This broke up the crowds but left many community members even more outraged and some used vulgarities against the police. One member of the public policing unit then lost control of his emotions and attacked a civilian.
Jagmohan was filming this incident when she was grabbed from behind by a policeman. Despite her protests that she was a journalist, she was dragged by three other policemen to the police station. Here they verbally abused her and tried to remove her footage. They detained her and fellow journalists from the SABC and then prevented all the journalists from returning to the protests. Effectively they were told to go home. They were thus prevented in doing their critical work in covering the protests and the police’s highly problematic behavior in response to these protests.
SANEF condemns this physical and verbal abuse of journalists and the police’s prevention of them doing their work. SANEF has noted that Jagmohan has now laid a complaint with the police, while the Sunday Tribune will also lay a complaint with senior police in KwaZulu Natal and the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID). SANEF will join the Sunday Tribune in laying a complaint. Also, we will be calling for a meeting with IPID.
For more information please contact:
Judy Sandison – SANEF Regional Coordinator, KZN
082 571 3334
Mary Papayya – SANEF Council
082 379 4957
Kate Skinner – Sanef Executive Director
082 926 6404