Sanef condemns attacks on journalists covering #FeesMustFall

Johannesburg - The South African National Editors' Forum has expressed its outrage against attacks on journalists at the University of Johannesburg on Thursday evening.

"Private security officials hired by the university attacked journalists and students at the Doornkloof and Kingsway campuses," Sanef executive director Mathatha Tsedu said in a statement.

"In one chilling incident, a photographer was punched repeatedly in the head, hit with a stick in the stomach, and then pepper sprayed at close range," the statement says.

"A group of reporters were circled on Joe Slovo Drive, ordered to sit on the road and then pepper sprayed. A photographer was also hit in the face with a plank-like object."

Tsedu said journalists were only doing their jobs "for the benefit of society" and posed no threat to anyone.

"Yesterday's incidents are in line with a discomforting trend we have noticed where journalists become targets of private security while covering public protests. Sanef has raised its concerns with the University Vice Chancellor Dr Ihron Rensburg, who condemned the actions and promised to ensure the security teams respect the right of journalists to do their work.”

Sanef has also condemned the hostility of student leaders to journalists and called on them to open channels of communication with media houses if they feel aggrieved by the coverage.

Student leaders have also been encouraged to use available mechanisms such as the Press Ombudsman and the Broadcasting Complaints Commission to get redress.

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