The SA National Editors’ Forum condemns the harassment of an eNCA journalist by a VIP policeman guarding President Jacob Zuma while he was pursuing his election campaign. The bodyguard grabbed reporter Nikolaus Bauer’s cellphone camera and deleted pictures showing ANC T-shirts which had been ferried to the event in a Gauteng traffic vehicle being handed out to ANC officials and Zuma supporters.
This occurred at Duduza in Ekurhuleni on Friday where Zuma was conducting a house to house campaign. Bauer said a plain clothes policeman demanded that he delete the pictures he had taken with the cellphone. When he refused, the phone was forcibly taken out of his hands and the guard deleted the images. Photographers near Bauer pictured the guard deleting the pictures.
Bauer said another bodyguard who asked that the pictures be deleted said if he did not it would result “in us giving you hell’’. He added: “We are already under pressure, please don’t do that to us.’’
Bauer said he intends taking the matter further to ensure that such conduct is not meted out to other journalists in future.
Sanef regards the police conduct as outrageous and totally unacceptable especially as a Sanef delegation had complained to National Police Commissioner General Riah Phiyega and a group of senior police officers at a meeting in Pretoria only a month ago about the intolerable harassment and attacks on journalists by police officers at crime scenes and other areas under police control.
One of the main complaints of Sanef was the illegal deletion by police officers of journalists’ pictures of police conduct. The deletion of the pictures is censorship which is contrary to the Constitution and Police Standing Orders. It is certainly conduct which reduces the celebration of South Africa’s Freedom Day on April 27 to a travesty.
Sanef supports Bauer in any further action he takes against the police officers.