Citizen reporter
2 minute read
4 Sep 2019
4:13 pm

Sanef condemns attacks on journalists by looters

Citizen reporter

Both journalists managed to escape unharmed but they suffered damage to their vehicles and work equipment.

Looters take items from an alleged foreign-owned shop during a riot in the Johannesburg suburb of Turffontein on September 2, 2019. Picture: Michele Spatari / AFP

The South African National Editors’ Forum (Sanef) has issued a statement condemning the attacks on SABC journalist Sashin Naidoo and Caxton community media journalist, Tshepiso Mametela, by looters.

Naidoo was covering the violent looting in Jeppestown and Malvern on Monday morning. He managed to escape from looters without being personally harmed but his car was severely damaged by looters while he was on his way to a briefing with Police Minister Bheki Cele.

Mametela, from community newspaper the Joburg East Express, had his camera bag and equipment stolen while making his way back to his car after engaging with the minister. He encountered a dispersing mob and attempted to run for cover and tripped, which was when the equipment was stolen. He also noticed damage to his vehicle – he believes that this was caused by a vehicle that bumped into his car while fleeing the area.

“Sanef is relieved that both Mametela and Naidoo weren’t harmed but we are concerned that journalists are more frequently being attacked – and more frequently being caught in the cross-fire of violent attacks,” said the organisation.

“Sanef believes that it is essential that violent protests and looting are covered – and covered in-depth – so that citizens understand the reasons behind the looting, the triggers and ultimately how to stop this in the future. However, simultaneously, media companies need to make sure that journalists are protected. Journalists need to be given the tools, strategies and necessary training.”

The organisation believes that journalists need to be given trauma counselling and have thus offered their support to media companies in an effort to enable them to provide training and support to ensure the safety of journalists.

“Also, Sanef believes that it is essential that members of the public are educated to understand the role of the media in covering stories – including the role of the media in covering protests, incidents of violence, looting and so forth. Journalists need to be protected by citizens so that they can move freely – and so they can ask the hard questions, talk truth to power and ultimately get to the bottom of why these violent incidents are happening, including ways to stop the violence and remedies to the deep underlying causes.”

(Compiled by Kaunda Selisho)

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