Reporter told to delete pics taken at protest

2015-01-31 22:06
Woolworths. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

Woolworths. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

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Johanesburg - A Radio Islam reporter was allegedly forced by police officers to delete pictures taken at a protest outside a Woolworths store at Trade Route Mall in Lenasia on Saturday, Crime Line head Yusuf Abramjee said.

"Members of the police's tactical response unit stopped him from taking photos," Abramjee said in a statement.

"He was also asked to delete pictures."

He said a constable at the scene was also "abusive and swore" at the reporter, Faizal Patel.

He was allegedly forced to accompany the police to the Lenasia police station "for questioning".

The journalist then notified Abramjee of the incident.

"After he called me, I immediately alerted the Gauteng SAPS [SA Police Service] leadership and drove to Lenasia. The commander of the unit also arrived."

The matter was then resolved when both sides of the story were discussed and Patel decided not to lay charges against the officers," said Abramjee.

"The constables apologised to Faizal. He accepted it."

The station commander would compile a report on the matter to ensure this type of thing does not happen again, he said.

"I emphasised to the SAPS the need to allow the media to do their jobs and made it very clear that harassment and intimidation will not be tolerated.

"Police on the ground have again showed they don't understand and respect the role of the media."

Gauteng police on Saturday said Patel was taken to the police station because he was unable to prove at the scene that he was a journalist.

"He told police officers that he was a journalist, but did not have a press card to prove this," Lieutenant Colonel Katlego Mogale said.

"He was then taken to the police station to confirm that he was a journalist."

In a separate incident, an Eyewitness News reporter was on Friday asked by security to delete audio taken at Bedford Centre in Johannesburg, Abramjee said.

This was after three customers, two security guards and two robbers were injured and taken to hospital after the robbery and shooting on Thursday.

"The incident ... is yet another example of intimidation and harassment," he said.

"Media freedom is critical and it is something which our Constitution guarantees."

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  media

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