Media must report objectively on World Cup: Cele

2010-05-31 13:53

The government does not expect local and international media to be

its “praise singers” over the World Cup, but urges them to report “objectively”,

police commissioner Brigadier Bheki Cele said today.

Where the government was alerted about criminal activities by the

media or society, it would act “with swiftness”, Cele told a Foreign

Correspondents’ Association briefing on World Cup security, according to a

statement from his office.

“What we appeal to you as media practitioners, is not to exaggerate

normal policing, which will still continue, and associate each crime committed

or arrest made elsewhere, to the safety of the World Cup.

“Such unfounded allegations have potential to unfairly taint the

image of the tournament when in fact some of these crimes are isolated and have

no linkage whatsoever,” he said.

Cele said past experiences had taught that major international

events often tempted criminals or “terrorists”.

“We are steadfast in our security plans and we will not be

distracted in our cause. Any type of deviant behaviour, be it criminality or

terrorism, will be dealt with swiftly and with no mercy.”

This was particularly so when it came to hooliganism.

“... And that is why we are working closely with those countries

where hooliganism is most prominent.”

Cele said the ministry of police had, for instance, signed a

memorandum of understanding with the United Kingdom on broad areas of

co-operation relating to safety and security measures.

Information exchange between police in both countries before and

during the tournament would help catch hooligans attempting to enter South

Africa.

“However, should they sneak out of UK into South Africa illegally,

we will be ready for them.”

Cele said law enforcement and intelligence specialists from all

participating countries were already in the country to help with, among other

things, language and cultural differences.

South Africa already had 40 000 police officials “everywhere and

ready for any eventuality”.

He said route security, specifically from airports to cities, ports

of entry and team bases would be a priority.

Police stations, crime

investigation teams and special courts dedicated to all World Cup-related events

would operate 24-hours a day.

“Host cities have been divided into sections, with police teams

patrolling each section focusing on accommodation, stadiums, fan parks,

restaurants and tourist venues.”

Cele nonetheless urged tourists to be careful.

“A specific message we want to instil in all our visitors: police

operations alone cannot resolve crime. As tourists you have a critical role to

play as well.

“As they would do in any country globally, we urge them to exercise

caution notably when they need general information, to consult the 2010 one-stop

information resources which are available across the country,” he said.


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