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Sanef condemns vicious attack on Beeld photographer by Unisa security guards

23 August 2011

Sanef condemns vicious attack on Beeld photographer by Unisa security guards

The SA National Editors’ Forum has been shocked at the report of a vicious unprovoked attack by security guards at the University of SA Sunnyside Campus in Pretoria on a photographer of Beeld newspaper who, together with a reporter, was investigating complaints from workers at the Eskia Mphahlele building about highly unpleasant conditions.

Education reporter Alet Rademeyer said that after being initially refused access to the building by a guard at the entrance gate she and photographer Craig Nieuwenhuizen followed the guard as he walked toward the entrance of the building. But they were intercepted by another guard who ordered them to return to the gate and aggressively pushed Niewenhuizen.

The two returned to the gate where the guard grabbed Nieuwenhuizen by the throat. Two or three other guards assaulted Niewenhuizen with their fists. He tried to defend himself with a pepper spray he carried in his camera bag but fell to the ground and as he lay there he was repeatedly kicked by the guards. Rademeyer’s pleas to them to stop were ignored.

They then stopped to allow students through the gates and the two journalists found the chief of security to whom they complained before he escorted them into the building to enable them to report on the conditions in the building.

Sanef condemns the assault and the attempt to prevent the journalists from carrying out a normal reporting assignment in a public institution. Sanef supports the paper’s complaint to the Vice Chancellor Professor Mandla Makhanya.

In view of the increasing hostility shown to, and attacks on, journalists by the authorities which appear to be aimed at preventing news of unpleasant or embarrassing events being published, Sanef urges that criminal charges be laid with the police.

Issued by the SA National Editors’ Forum (SANEF)