Johannesburg - South African media will never be gagged again, the National Press Club said on Friday ahead of the UN's World Press Freedom day.
“South Africa's hard-fought for media freedom and freedom of expression will never be taken away again, the country's robust democracy and the will of its people are too strong to ever allow that,” press club deputy chairwoman Tanya de Vente-Bijker said in a statement.
The United Nation's 2014 theme for World Press Freedom day, on Saturday, is “Media Freedom for a Better Future: Shaping the post-2015 Development Agenda”.
Its aim is to celebrate press freedom, assess the state of press freedom worldwide, defend the media from attacks on their independence, and pay tribute to journalists killed in the line of duty.
“The fact that the South African police is engaging with the journalist whose photographs have allegedly been deleted by a VIP protection police officer during a recent political rally, is heartening.
“We call on all political parties to ensure that the media is allowed to do their job, up to and during Wednesday's election,” said De Vente-Bijker.
During an election visit by President Jacob Zuma in Duduza on the East Rand on Friday, April 25, an eNCA reporter was forced to delete pictures that he took on his cellphone of ANC T-shirts in a Gauteng traffic police car, part of Zuma's convoy.
A bodyguard snatched the phone from his hands when he refused. The guard, who was photographed by other journalists, deleted the pictures. Another bodyguard reportedly said failure to delete the photos would result “in us giving you hell”.
“We are already under pressure, please don't do that to us,” the unnamed guard said.