Sanef Statement 11 March 2015
SANEF CONDEMNS THUGGISH BEHAVIOUR BY POLICE AT PARLIAMENT
The South African National Editors’ Forum (Sanef) strongly condemns the thuggish behaviour by members of the police who manhandled a journalist outside Parliament and forced him to delete pictures from his camera.
Two hours before President Jacob Zuma was due to answers questions in Parliament, Media24’s Jan Gerber was blocked by five unidentified policemen in white shirts outside Parliament while he was taking pictures of them and also public order policing vans.
The five dragged him to the ground opposite the SAPS station in Plein St and forced him to delete his photographs. He sustained a few scratches and bruises injuries during the incident.
The police officers refused to identify themselves other than to say they belong to the SAPS VIP protection services.
Sanef is perturbed by these actions that are in contravention of police standing orders which prohibit police officers from deleting journalists’ pictures. This is the latest incident of police intimidation despite promises by senior police officers, including the national commissioner, that such illegal behaviour would be stopped.
Sanef will take this matter up with General Riah Phiyega’s office as a matter of urgency. Sanef further encourages Gerber to lay a criminal charge against the police officers concerned and consider instituting civil action as a strong message to the police that they are not above the law.
Mpumelelo Mkhabela Sanef Chairperson 0822962541
Adriaan Basson Chair Media Freedom Sub Committee 0825622113