The SA National Editors’ Forum condemns the brutal attack on Daily Sun photojournalist Samson Ratswana, by alleged members of the International Pentecostal Holiness Church (IPHC) in Soshanguve on Wednesday night. Ratswana had responded to a call that there was fighting in the church but when he arrived a group of about 70 people attacked him shouting “journalist, journalist”.
Attempts by two Metro Police officers to rescue him failed as they were overpowered by the group.
Ratswana was assaulted for nearly half an hour. He was eventually saved by the arrival of a VIP protection unit officer.
Sanef commends the police for trying to assist the journalist and for eventually stopping the beatings. Sanef notes the apology of one church elder and Executive Committee Vice-chairman, Mr Abie Wessie, but that is not enough. They should finger the culprits and hand them to the police if they genuinely wish to distance the church from the unacceptable & criminal behavior of the group.
Journalists have a responsibility to reflect to society all the good that churches do. Equally, when there are ructions within the church, as is the case presently in the IPHC, it is the responsibility of journalists to reflect this to society. Just as church members welcome the coverage of their pilgrimages to Zuurbekom, similarly they should accept that the realities of conflict within their church will be covered as a matter of public interest. The church has a responsibility to protect journalists while carrying out their duty of informing, educating and entertaining South Africans.
For Enquiries please contact:
Sanef Executive Director
082 454 0527
Sanef Media Freedom Committee