When the fire is mightier than the pen
While protests are necessary in any functioning democracy, it’s important to understand the boundaries of peaceful protest and the media’s role in giving a voice to people’s concerns and hardships
The SA National Editors’ Forum is outraged by the latest spate of violent attacks against journalists covering protests in the Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality. Reporters from various news media outlets have been chased away by protesters, intimidated with violence, physically attacked or intimidated by police officers on the scene.
The following incidents have been brought to our attention:
Power FM journalist Tshidi Madia was forced out of Soshanguve on Wednesday and told to leave Mamelodi on Tuesday because she was reporting on the protests. Protesters threatened her and told her to leave the areas.
eNCA reporter Jody Jacobs and camerawoman Noluthando Hlophe were robbed at gunpoint by a mob in Mamelodi after a live crossing from the protests on Wednesday evening. Two men walked up to them and threatened to shoot them if they did not hand over their equipment. The journalists handed over their camera, tripod and microphone to the robbers.
SABC journalist Horisani Sithole had his hand bitten in Mabopane while trying to capture a mob looting a spaza shop owned by a foreign national. He had to receive medical treatment.
News24 reporter Jeff Wicks was assaulted on Wednesday by a police officer in Ga-Rankuwa. The officer wanted to prevent 1 In a world of hyperinformation, the values of credibility, independence, accuracy, professional ethics, transparency and pluralism are those that will confirm a relationship of trust with the public. 2the Next-level journalism is distinguished from other content by vigilant and diligent questioning and verification of material circulating on social media. It acknowledges social Wicks from recording video of the police shooting rubber bullets at protesters. Officers also confiscated his phone and instructed him to delete video footage and pictures.
On Tuesday in Atteridgeville, residents accosted EWN reporters Clement Manyathela and Kgothatso Mogale, and took their phones and video camera after threatening them with a brick. They were forced to delete footage and media as a source of information for further fact-checking and as a platform for leveraging professional content. 3 The mission of journalism at this next level is to positively serve society by providing high-quality, verified information and to establish news brands as a trusted certificate of origin for content. 4 A requirement of next-level journalism is that it goes beyond basic facts and enables and encourages analysis, contextual and investigative reporting, and informed expression of opinion, moving from the provision of news to knowledge that empowers. 5 Next-level journalism should be driven by trust and the guiding principles of social relevance, legitimate interest and truthfulness.
At its meeting at the World News Congress in Cartagena, Colombia, the board of the World Editors’ Forum endorsed five principles to help rebuild trust in professional journalism These principles are:
were then released after doing so.
News24 reporter Karabo Ngoepe also had his phone confiscated – by a police officer in Ga-Rankuwa, who forced him to delete pictures and video. The officer took pictures of News24’s vehicle and threatened to “deal with” the journalist.
A freelance photographer from AFP had his cellphone stolen while taking pictures of the unrest in Mamelodi.