Sanef condemns reporter’s treatment
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Johannesburg - The SA National Editors' Forum on Friday condemned the police's behaviour towards a Sapa reporter who was forced to delete photos of the looting in Soweto from her cellphone.
“Sanef is perturbed by these actions that are in contravention of police standing orders which prohibit police officers from deleting journalists' pictures at crime scenes,” it said in a statement.
“This, particularly as it comes despite promises by senior police officers, including the national commissioner, that such illegal behaviour would be stopped.”
Reporter Mpho Raborife was forced by three police officers, not in uniform, to delete cellphone pictures taken outside a Somali-owned shop on Thursday.
Raborife was driving to work when she passed three Somali-owned shops.
Three marked police vehicles were parked outside. Two men were loading items, including packs of cold drinks, into a white van.
She pulled over, put on her hazard lights and ran to the area to take several photos. Afterwards she got back into her car and drove for about 700m, before being flagged down by police.
They forced her to delete the photos on her cellphone, even though she showed them her press card indicating that she is a reporter.
They gave back her phone and her press card after she deleted the photographs.
A policeman took down Raborife's details, and another photographed her car.
Sanef said Eyewitness News reporter Leeto Khoza was hit on the head with a rock while covering the unrest. Khoza is in intensive care in hospital.
“As protesters were throwing rocks at police and shop owners, they turned their attention on journalists, claiming they would reveal their identities.
“Khoza was hit on the head with a rock and lost consciousness for some time. He is still in hospital receiving intensive care,” Sanef said.
“Sanef calls on the public to respect the right of journalists to do their work and to actually protect them against those who may not wish for the truth to be known.”
“Sanef also calls on community leaders to inculcate understanding of the role of the media within their communities.”