The South African National Editors’ Forum (SANEF) welcomes the arrest of suspects following the attack on two journalists at Fish Hoek Beach over the weekend.
On Saturday, eNCA journalist Monique Mortlock was assaulted while attempting to interview an anti-mask protest organiser at Fish Hoek Beach. The man refused to speak to her and ripped her mask off, while another journalist, Athi Mtongana from Newzroom Afrika, was also attacked.
Monique Mortlock tweeted, “We are on Fish Hoek beach to cover the #WeAreMore protest against lockdown. But one of the organisers just assaulted me, even with officers around us. He refused to speak to me because I’m wearing a mask”. A demonstrator then threw her phone onto the ground when she attempted to conduct an interview.
Mtongana tweeted, “Protesters at Fish Hoek beach approached us and asked if we’re media. Told us that anyone wearing a mask supports paedophiles.” An old lady then proceeded to slap the phone out of her hand.
SANEF is encouraged to hear that about the swift interventions of law enforcement agencies who reacted to the shocking attack on the two women journalists at the weekend and arrested some of the demonstrators concerned. They will face charges relating to assault and crimen injuria. SANEF wishes to thank the SAPS for its prompt response.
SANEF notes that protesters took to the beach to call for an end to lockdown restrictions when the assault happened. However, some broke the law and endangered the lives of the journalists on the scene by forcing them to take off their masks. SANEF wishes to remind communities that forcefully removing someone’s mask is an infringement to their rights to safety by the same people who want their stories told.
SANEF is concerned that news reporters are being attacked by the same individuals who want their stories told and yet have no respect for media freedom and the rights of journalists to work without fear of intimidation and harassment.
The attacks on journalists by members of the public which is becoming a worrying trend.
SANEF calls on media houses to provide counselling and mental health care support to all journalists – particularly during the COVID Crisis. We once again thank the SAPS for stepping in and arresting those that broke the law and intimidated journalists.
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
Chiara Carter – SANEF Eastern Cape Convenor (082) 659-9162
Katy Katopodis – SANEF Gauteng Convenor (082) 805-7022
Judy Sandison – SANEF KZN Convenor (082) 571-3334
Asanda Ngoasheng – Western Cape Convenor – 082 610 9374
Kate Skinner – SANEF Executive Director – (082) 926-6404
Email: [email protected]