Sanef condemns attacks on journalists in Vuwani and Coligny

2017-05-08 20:12
Photographer Mujahid Safodien has been assaulted. (Jeanette Chabalala, News24)

Photographer Mujahid Safodien has been assaulted. (Jeanette Chabalala, News24)

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Johannesburg - The SA National Editors Forum (Sanef) on Monday condemned the attacks on journalists in Vuwani and Coligny, saying freedom of the media and freedom of expression are enshrined in the Constitution and should be respected.

This comes after journalists from the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) who were covering the protests in Vuwani, Limpopo on Sunday, were assaulted and three vehicles belonging to the public broadcaster were damaged.

Residents in the area have been up in arms after the Municipal Demarcation Board moved Vuwani and surrounding areas into Lim 345.

Vuwani residents have been disgruntled since April 2016 after villagers lost a court bid to remain under the Makhado municipality.

More than 20 schools were burnt and schooling disrupted for months during violent protests in 2016.

The presidency said on Sunday that President Jacob Zuma had met with Vuwani stakeholders, but left a community meeting because it was "not representative" of those affected by the establishment of the new municipality.

LIVE: Police fire rubber bullets at Coligny protesters

Assault

In Coligny on Monday, three houses were set alight and property damaged after residents continued to protest following the death of a teenage boy.

Bail of R5 000 was granted bail to two alleged murder-accused farm workers on Monday morning.

Photographer Mujahid Safodien was assaulted by the owner of one of the houses that was set alight.

Several other journalists were also chased away from the property.

Sanef said in a statement that journalists should be allowed to conduct their work without fear or favour.

"We urge the affected journalists to report the incidents to the police and call on authorities to investigate and charge those responsible for the threats to cause harm, the physical attacks and the damage to journalists' property."

"We also wish to reiterate our disappointment with the police's conduct at public events, especially their regular interference with the work of journalists - in their process flouting their own Standing Order 156 which regulates their conduct at public and crime scenes," the statement read.

It further stated that they had witnessed a number of incidents where police officials blocked journalists from freely gathering information at public events, and newsworthy scenes like public protests and car accidents.

Read more on:    sanef  |  media  |  media freedom  |  protests

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