Sanef condemns police's attack on Newzroom Afrika journalists during Diepsloot demolitions

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  • A video of two police officers shoving and pushing a cameraperson is circulating on Twitter.
  • Newzroom Afrika journalist Mbali Thethani and cameraperson Muraga Mphaphuli were reporting on demolitions in Diepsloot. 
  • Thethani says there was no barricaded area, where they were allowed to work. 

The SA National Editors' Forum (Sanef) has strongly condemned the hostile attack on Newzroom Afrika journalists, who were on Wednesday prohibited from covering demolitions in Diepsloot by members of the South Africa Police Service (SAPS). 

In a video shared by journalist, Mbali Thethani, on Twitter, the cameraperson, Muraga Mphaphuli, is seen being pushed by SAPS members. 

According to Sanef, Thethani said: "While filming, we were asked to delete the footage and vacate the property because it was not 'safe'. This is despite them having already completed 99% of the demolitions."

Thethani said she was speaking to the landlady, who was affected by the demolition, when the cops ordered them to vacate the property.

She said there was no police barricade to direct journalists as to where they could operate from, which made their job difficult. 

"While making our way, my colleague, Mphaphuli, was manhandled, pushed and shoved by police."

Sanef has called on senior police officers, in charge of such operations, to brief their teams to allow the media to report; it is a right enshrined in the Constitution. 

The forum added that Gauteng SAPS spokesperson, Brigadier Mathapelo Peters, said they had noted the circulating video clip and an urgent internal investigation would be conducted to get to the bottom of the matter. 

"We also wish to highlight the issue of journalists' safety by referring all journalists and media organisations to the safety tips, including on our Sanef website.

"We call on all media organisations to ensure, wherever possible, that they provide trauma counselling for journalists who have been out on assignment.

"We reiterate the long-term damaging effects of untreated trauma. We have compiled a list of trauma and psychological services for journalists – these can also be accessed on our website."

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