Attacks on journalists condemned

Johannesburg - National Press Club chairperson Yusuf Abramjee said on Tuesday attacks on at least five journalists during a gathering in support of ANC Youth League president Julius Malema had been "totally unacceptable.

"It shows total disrespect for the role of the media and we condemn this disrespect and the violence in the strongest terms," said Abramjee after crowds who had gathered in support of Malema ahead of his disciplinary hearing targeted journalists recording the event.

"What we have seen today (on Tuesday) does not bode well for the future of media freedom and all South Africans need to stand up against it."

As eNews was broadcasting live footage, some members of the crowd suddenly turned on the media as they gathered at Beyers Naude Square. Their reporter Cathy Mohlahlana had to take cover and, according to Patrick Conroy, group head of eNews, parts of the cameraman's cable was grabbed and stolen.

"My understanding is that a lot of our cabling and visual equipment were disconnected and stolen.

"... It's a sad day when the media is not allowed to do its job," he said. A window of an eNews van was also broken.

Sapa journalists on the scene said at least five members of the media - including Sapa photographer Werner Beukes, two eNews journalists Belinda Moses and Mohlahlana, the Star photographer Boxer Ngwenya and Citizen photographer Michel Bega - were hit by rocks thrown at them.

They were also groped by the youths, they said.


Sapa editor Mark van der Velden confirmed that Beukes had been hit in the back by a rock thrown by unruly elements in the crowd, but he was not badly injured.

"This is clearly a case of assault. I will be following this matter up through the appropriate channels," said Van der Velden.

Speaking in his role as group head of news at Primedia, Abramjee also said an EWN reporter Andrea van Wyk had repeatedly been called a bitch and sworn at and groped while she was covering events.

"Our journalists narrowly escaped injury. One reporter's microphone wire was pulled away."

On Wednesday afternoon, Malema told the crowd at Beyers Naude Square: "You cannot throw stones at journalists because journalists are just messengers... if you attack journalists, you will lose public sympathy."

He also asked them not to attack the police.

"The police are not your enemy. These are the people employed to protect you," said Malema.

The Cape Town Press Club said it was deeply disturbed by reports of journalists being attacked.

"We condemn these attacks and call on the crowds in question to respect the democratic right of journalists to carry out their duties without hindrance."

SA National Editors Forum deputy chairperson on media ethics Raymond Louw said: "We are certainly very worried about it indeed.

"We will certainly protest. But of course one is dealing with an unmanaged demonstration."

One person was arrested in connection with turning over a rubbish bin, metro police spokesperson Wayne Minnaar said.

Wolraad Woltemade 2011-08-30 09:45:58 PM
The events about to unfold Are beyond comprehension. In this hatred escalating The fate is the same. Here we stand defiled to the brink Of our self-annihilation. We are vicious animals In a game with no name. Behold the place of slaughter, The earth is a tomb. The smell of death upon her, The child has torn the womb. Let all of us prepare our doom. Nowhere to run, no place to hide, We cannot escape the night. The perilous atomic rage Shall usher in the age. The wicked shall be turned to hell, The wasteland in a cage. Behold the forced abortion, The murder in the air, The atmosphere in motion, The paralyzing fear. Let all the men of war draw near. Let all the men of war draw near. Let all the men of war draw near. Let all the men of war draw near.
Al Chemist 2011-08-30 09:47:05 PM
Could eNews lay charges against ANCYL directly for the theft?
Kate 2011-08-30 09:48:06 PM
Never mind Malema, the media can get another chance tomorrow at their secret location being Birchwood Conference Centre
gatvol4corru 2011-08-30 09:48:25 PM
Freakin animals! Juju's animal farm!Proudly brought to you by the ANC
Theo Du Preez 2011-08-30 09:48:54 PM
Even the gangsters have respect for their leaders and follow their commands. The ANCYL can do neither. If this is the face of South Africa of tomorrow, we must be scared, very scared. The more scary thing is that Pres Zuma and Motlanthe chose to be outside our borders and left the issue to senior cabinet ministers and the police chief to handle. Are they running scared?
OZNOB 2011-08-30 10:01:36 PM
the ancyl are about to find out the hard way that such actions does not endear the press to pose a positive view point of them .
Tim 2011-08-30 10:06:16 PM
Ha ha ha!! :) Showdown!!!! Who will will ANCYL or ANC? Man my prediction was spot on. Now all they need to do is blame apartheid/3rd force/counter revolutionaries, etc. for their savage behaviour. What an amazing and inspiring inspiration the ANCYL sets for the youth in SA. Truly something to look up and aspire too! he he. Can't wait to see what happens if the ANC proclaims Malema guilty and force him out of the ANC (somehow I cannot see that happening)
Boxxer 2011-08-30 10:09:01 PM
WTF, you arrest a single person for turning over a bin and it's O.K. to burn the ruling parties flag and t/shirts of the President?
Petro50 2011-08-30 10:20:50 PM
They are just following the leader who calls media reporters 'bloody agents'. Also no respect for the police. Just as their leaders (ANC and ANCYL) they are above the law and completely untouchable.
Geoffrey Toomey 2011-08-30 10:25:30 PM
It's not just in SA, the kids in UK also went on the rampage recently and did a lot more damage than these guys. Beware of our kids they are a force in numbers with no discipline any more.