The South African National Editors’ Forum (Sanef) protests in the strongest terms at the ban by a police officer on press photographers and journalists trying to take photographs of the scene at the Tswane Events Centre in Pretoria on Sunday June 19 where a shooting had taken place during the African National Congress Tswane Mayoral elective conference. Sanef accuses the police of acting unconstitutionally by breaching the Constitution’s media freedom provisions and by breaching the rules contained in Police Standing Orders.
Sanef has sent this protest to the Acting National Police Commissioner, Lieutenant General Johannes Khomotso Phahlane, with a request that the police officers who imposed the illegal ban on the journalists be disciplined and to issue a general order to the police not to interfere with journalists and photographers legally carrying out their duties in public places.
After the shooting which resulted in a person being wounded and taken to hospital the journalists tried to take pictures of the scene which was cordoned off by the police. The journalists were in a public street clear of the cordoned off crime scene. A Colonel Modise, reportedly of the Pretoria Central Police Service, ordered Simone Heradien, content manager of the Pretoria Rekord, not to take pictures and he reportedly threatened her with police action despite her protests that she was acting legally and in no way interfering with the police in their duties.
Heradien and a Pretoria News journalist, Sakhile Nldazi, were also threatened by a group of ANC supporters wearing ANC T-shirts who declared that the media were not welcome and photographs were not to be taken.
Sanef condemns the illegal behaviour of the police and their failure to protect the journalists when they were threatened by the group wearing ANC T-shirts.
For enquiries please contact:
Adriaan Basson, Sanef Media Freedom Committee chairman 082 562-2113
Raymond Louw, Sanef Media Freedom Committee deputy chairman – 011 646-8790/082 446 5155.