The SA National EditorsÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ Forum condemns the conduct of the Durban Metro
Police in arresting and detaining a Sowetan reporter, Mhlaba Memela,
while he was covering an incident in DurbanÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s central business district
on Wednesday night, February 13, according to a media release.
Memela came across an accident involving two vehicles in the city. One of the cars had crashed into a shop which passers-by were looting. Memela alerted the Metro Police and took photographs of the incident.
When the police arrived they accused him of interfering with them in their investigations and obstructing justice. They refused to release him despite an appeal to the Durban City Manager Michael Sutcliffe by the Sowetan Durban bureau chief Mary Papayya.
Sanef has protested on several occasions recently about the police arresting reporters and photographers at crime scenes, pointing out that these appear to be attempts by the police to prevent journalists from reporting the incidents. In all recent cases ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ except one that is pending ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ the cases have been thrown out of court by prosecutors as being baseless.
Sanef regards such interference with journalists carrying out their duties as serious interference with the role of the media and demands that investigations be instituted and the guilty officers punished.
Issued by: SA National Editors' Forum (SANEF)
For more comment please contact:
Raymond Louw ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ Chair of SANEF Media Freedom Subcom: 011 646 8790 / 082 446 5155